Thursday, September 21, 2017

Epstein And Rocky Enter 11th District Congressional Race As Trott Retirement Rewrites Michigan's 2018 Script

By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At

Rep. David Trott is calling it quits, opting not to run for a third term in 2018. Trott says his retirement is consistent with the Founding Fathers vision of a citizen's legislature, legislators serving briefly, then returning to the private sector. 

With an open primary in a Republican friendly district now in play, all hell is breaking loose as the race begins to impact other contests: the script for Michigan politics in 2018 has been tossed out and is now undergoing a rewrite.

Rocky Raczkowski was the first out of the gate to declare for the Trott seat. 

Raczkowski, a businessman and Veteran who led President Trump's Michigan Veterans coalition in 2016, has run for Congress before, losing by just 2% to now Sen. Gary Peters when he represented the old 9th Congressional District. Rocky is popular among conservative grassroots leaders, he's been around the block with a race like this before, and make no mistake, he will be a major player in this immensely competitive campaign.

Businesswoman Lena Epstein dropped out of the US Senate race earlier this week to run for the 11th District seat. Epstein plays well in the suburban Detroit district and will definitely be a front runner. This move leaves John James in a great position to capture momentum, as many of Epstein's supporters want an outsider candidate to take on Debbie Stabenow. James, a decorated West Point Veteran and businessman, definitely fits the bill.

State Sen. Mike Kowall has announced he is dropping out of the race for Secretary of State and is rumored to be declaring for the 11th District seat soon. Kowall shouldn't be underestimated by anyone in this race... Kowall's exit leaves Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot in a prime position to capture the nomination, though MSU Professor Joseph Guzman has plans of his own.

State Rep. Klint Kesto is said to be passing on the State Senate race to replace Kowall and instead may enter the Trott replacement battle. That leaves former State Rep. Hugh Crawford and State Rep. Jim Runestad on the ballot for that primary.

A big wildcard? Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. 

Bouchard is said to be the top choice to replace L. Brooks Patterson as Oakland County Executive in 2020. Bouchard can run for Congress and fall back on the Patterson seat if needed, but if he runs and wins the Trott seat, Republicans may have a tough time keeping Patterson's office in 2020. With high name ID and the ability to fundraise, Bouchard would be a major player in the Trott replacement fight should he choose to enter...

Other races and candidates may be impacted in the future, so stay tuned! One thing's for sure, Michigan's 2018 political script is undergoing a big league rewrite. Who will come out on top? We won't know until the finale...but it will be a fun season!
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.

>>>Email him at

1 comment:

  1. John James is better suited to run in 2020 vs Peters (Veteran v Veteran). Bob Young is no Establishment HACK, as some try to imply as he's served Michigan very well as a JUSTICE, NOT A CAREER INSIDER POLITICIAN. Bob Young Jr is the infinitely and undisputably qualified Candidate for the USSenate seat.

    There is a Group for all things Michigan USSenate Race:
    learn more:
    ("Thanks Alot Debbie, NOT" - Replace Stabenow Group)