Inside Michigan Politics 2016 House Rankings: Wittenberg Most Liberal, Theis Most Conservative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Publisher Susan J. Demas, 517.420.6779, susan@sjdemas.com

The 2016 election is just under two months away, and Inside Michigan Politics has the definitive rankings of the “Most Liberal” and “Most Conservative” members of the state House of Representatives. All seats are on the ballot on Nov. 8.

The 2016 “Most Liberal” member is Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park), who scored a 92.9% liberal voting record. The “Most Conservative” member is Rep. Lana Theis (R-Brighton), who had just a 10.7% liberal rating.

The ratings are based on 28 litmus test roll-call votes this year. For the rankings, 100% is the gold standard for a representative who voted the liberal position on roll calls for an array of social, economic, taxation, environmental, civil rights, and public health/safety issues. If a roll call was missed, it was simply thrown out.

Two House members tied for second most-liberal: Reps. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods) and Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), who each voted liberal 89.3% of the time. The two-way tie for third place was between Reps. LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) and Kristy Pagan (D-Canton), who both posted 85.7% liberal records.

At the other end of the political/ideological spectrum, Reps. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), Laura Cox (R-Livonia) and Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), who voted liberal 14.3% of the time. Coming in third wereReps. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Gary Glenn (R-Midland) took third prize with their 17.6% liberal voting records.*  

In 2015, the most “Most Conservative” winners were disgraced, now-former Reps. Todd Courser (R-Silverwood) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell). Glenn placed second. Theis and Rep. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) tied for third.

Last year, Garrett was the “Most Liberal” House member. There was a five-way tie for second place between Wittenberg and Reps. Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak), Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) and Leslie Love (D-Detroit). Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) was third.

Inside Michigan Politics has been compiling the list for more than 25 years.

IMP has ranked the 109 members of the state House in 2016. That list is available to subscribers in our September 9, 2016 edition.

The list of the top three “Most Liberal” and “Most Conservative” House members from 2009 to 2015 is available at insidemichiganpolitics.com

*Corrected, 9/12/16

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IMP Announces New Contributors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         Contact: Susan J. Demas, Inside Michigan Politics Editor & Publisher, 517-420-6779, susan@sjdemas.com

LANSING –  Inside Michigan Politics Editor & Publisher Susan J. Demas today announced that the publication will begin featuring a variety of writers.

IMP, the must-read, biweekly newsletter, provides nonpartisan analysis for several thousand readers, including corporations, trade associations, labor unions, government agencies, the White House and several foreign governments. Now IMP will be featuring the work of both experienced journalists and political strategists from both sides of the aisle.

“When I bought Inside Michigan Politics over two years ago, my goal was to make IMP the gold standard for political journalism in Michigan and to grow the company,” Demas said. “Now I’m very excited to be able to bring in new voices to IMP. I think these experienced journalists and political strategists will enhance our mission to tell readers what's really happening in Michigan politics, beyond talking points and spin.”

New writers contributing to IMP include: Longtime political journalist Chad Selweski; Job Creators Network Senior Communications Manager Kathy Hoekstra; reporter Andy Balaskovitz; former Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis; Dennis Darnoi of political data analysis firm Revsix; AFL-CIO Communications Director Zack Pohl; and former Equality Michigan Executive Director Emily Dievendorf.

Writers will be covering and providing analysis on everything from state House races to the ongoing Flint water crisis.

IMP is the most-quoted political publication in Michigan, and has recently been featured in national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, Politico, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Hotline, Roll Call, CNN, MSNBC’s “Hardball,” PBS "News Hour," Al-Jazeera, Real Clear Politics, Slate, Reuters and more.

Demas, 39, has been a reporter, editor and columnist for 15 years. She is the only Michigan journalist to have been named to The Washington Post's list of “Best Political Reporters,” The Huffington Post's list of “Best Political Tweeters” and The Washington Post's list of “Best Political Bloggers.”

Statement on Bill Ballenger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         Contact: Susan J. Demas, Editor and Publisher, 517.420.6779, susan@sjdemas.com

I have great respect for Bill Ballenger, who has continued to periodically contribute to Inside Michigan Politics after I bought the publication in 2013.

As you are aware, Bill's comments Tuesday night on WKAR after the State of the State address regarding the seriousness of the Flint Water Crisis are indefensible. Bill had previously made public comments as a Flint resident and political analyst, but last night he was on “Off the Record” associated with IMP.

As I told Bill earlier Tuesday, he is entitled to his opinion, but not his own facts. And as the sole owner, editor and publisher of IMP, I alone speak for the publication and set its editorial direction.

Flint is a public health catastrophe, as the meticulous research of Virginia Tech and Hurley Medical Center Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha clearly shows. I cannot have anyone associated with Inside Michigan Politics who minimizes the impact of this terrible public health disaster that will impact people’s lives for decades to come. I am truly sorry to everyone hurt by Bill’s comments at a time of already considerable anxiety and pain.

So it is with a heavy heart that I am informing you that as of this morning, Bill Ballenger is not associated with Inside Michigan Politicsin any way, shape or form.

Inside Michigan Politics 2015 Senate Rankings: Warren Most Liberal for 5th Straight Year, Hune Most Conservative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                     Contact: Publisher Susan J. Demas, 517-420- 6779, susan@sjdemas.com

For the fifth straight year, state Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) is the chamber’s “Most Liberal” member. No other senator has achieved that feat in the almost three decades Inside Michigan Politics has been tracking votes.

IMP has compiled the definitive rankings of the “Most Liberal and Most Conservative” members of the state Senate for 2015. The rankings are based on 31 litmus test roll-call votes this year.

Warren posted a 93.3% liberal voting record, and was followed by Sen. Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield) with 90.3%. Sens. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit) and Morris Hood III (D-Detroit) tied for third place with 90% liberal voting records.

In 2014, now-Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) was the runner-up, with Gregory and then-Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) tied for third.    

For 2015, Sen. Joe Hune (R-Hamburg) notched a 0% liberal voting record, earning him the “Most Conservative” title –– which he also captured in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Hune has the distinction of being the only legislator of the 148 serving this year in either the state House or Senate to post a perfect record –– be it conservative or liberal.

Sen. Pat Colbeck (R-Canton) had the second-most conservative voting record in 2015 with a 3.23% liberal record. Sens. Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) and John Proos (R-St. Joseph) tied for third, with each scoring a 6.45%.

In 2014, Sens. Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Twp.) and John Moolenaar (R-Midland) were both “Most Conservative.” Hune placed second and Colbeck and Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) tied for third.

For IMP’s rankings, 100% is the gold standard for a representative who voted the liberal position on roll calls for an array of social, economic, taxation, environmental, civil rights, and public health/safety issues. If a roll call was missed, it was simply thrown out.

IMP has ranked all 38 members of the Senate in 2015. That list is available to subscribers in our forthcoming edition.

The list of the top three “Most Liberal” and “Most Conservative” senators from 2009 to 2014 is available at insidemichiganpolitics.com

Inside Michigan Politics 2015 House Rankings: Courser, Gamrat Most Conservative; Garrett Most Liberal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                     Contact: Publisher Susan J. Demas, 517-420- 6779, susan@sjdemas.com

Ex-state Reps. Todd Courser (R-Silverwood) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) frequently claimed to be the most conservative members of the House -- and their voting records back them up.

Inside Michigan Politics has compiled the definitive rankings of the “Most Liberal and Most Conservative” members of the House of Representatives for 2015. The rankings are based on 28 litmus test roll-call votes this year.

“Most Conservative” winners Courser and Gamrat both notched 4.8% liberal voting records. Following them is Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) with a 7.1% liberal record. Reps. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) and Lana Theis (R-Brighton) tied for third by posting 10.7% liberal voting records.

In 2014, three Republicans tied for “Most Conservative”: Reps. Tom McMillin (R-Auburn Hills), Ray Franz (R-Onekama) and Pete Lund (R-Shelby Twp.).

For 2015, freshman Rep. LaTanya Garrett is the “Most Liberal” House member, amassing a 96.4% liberal voting record.

There was a five-way tie for second place between Reps. Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak), Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), Leslie Love (D-Detroit) and Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park). They all scored 92.9%. And Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) was third with a 92.6% liberal record.

In 2014, two Democrats tied for “Most Liberal”: Roberts and Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

Inside Michigan Politics has been compiling the list for more than 25 years. For the rankings, 100% is the gold standard for a representative who voted the liberal position on roll calls for an array of social, economic, taxation, environmental, civil rights, and public health/safety issues. If a roll call was missed, it was simply thrown out.

IMP has ranked all 110 members of the state House in 2015. That list is available to subscribers in our forthcoming edition.

The list of the top three “Most Liberal” and “Most Conservative” House members from 2009 to 2014 is available at insidemichiganpolitics.com

Inside Michigan Politics 2014 Senate Rankings: Warren Most Liberal, Brandenburg, Moolenaar Most Conservative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                     Contact: Publisher Susan J. Demas, 517.420.6779, susan@sjdemas.com

Inside Michigan Politics has done it again, calculating the definitive rankings of the Most Liberal and Most Conservative members of the state Senate for 2014. Last week, IMP released its state House rankings.

Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) is the Most Liberal senator for 2014 with a 96.67% liberal voting record. Warren has made history; she’s the only senator to be Most Liberal for all four years of her term (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014).

Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) was the runner-up with a 96.30% liberal voting record. Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) and Sen. Vince Gregory (D-Southfield) tied for third with 93.33%.

The Most Conservative title is held by two men: Sens. Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Twp.) and John Moolenaar (R-Midland), who had 6.67% liberal voting records.

The second-place finisher is Sen. Joe Hune (R-Hamburg) with a 10.00% liberal voting record. Sens. Pat Colbeck (R-Canton) and Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) tied for third with 13.33%.

Inside Michigan Politics has been compiling the list for more than 25 years. The rankings are based on 30 litmus test roll-call votes in the state Senate this year.                                     

For the IMP rankings, 100% is the gold standard for a representative who voted the liberal position on roll calls for an array of social, economic, taxation, environmental, civil rights, and public health/safety issues. If a roll call was missed, it was simply thrown out.

IMP has ranked all 38 members of the Senate in 2014. That list is available to subscribers in our Sept. 30, 2014, edition.

The list of the top three Most Liberal and Most Conservative senators from 2009 to 2013, is available at insidemichiganpolitics.com.

Inside Michigan Politics 2014 House Rankings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Publisher Susan J. Demas, 517.420.6779, susan@sjdemas.com

Irwin, Roberts Most Liberal
McMillin, Franz, Lund Most Conservative

The 2014 election is a little more than six weeks away, and Inside Michigan Politics has the definitive rankings of the Most Liberal and Most Conservative members of the House of Representatives.

Three Republicans hold the title of Most Conservative this year: Reps. Tom McMillin (R-Auburn Hills), Ray Franz (R-Onekama) and Pete Lund (R-Shelby Twp.). They each posted a 7.14% liberal voting record.

Rep. Greg MacMaster (R-Kewadin) had the second-most conservative voting record with 7.69%. There was a six-way tie for third place (10.71%) between Reps. Frank Foster (R-Petoskey), Tom Hooker (R-Byron Center), Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck), Ken Goike (R-Ray Twp), Joel Johnson (R-Clare) and Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton).

Foster was the lone member of the Legislature to lose in the August primary, where even having the third-most conservative voting record wasn’t enough to save him from a challenge from the right.

Two Democrats tied for Most Liberal in 2014: Reps. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clare Shores). They both had 92.86% liberal voting records.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) had the second-most liberal voting record with 89.29%. Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) came in third with 85.71%.

Inside Michigan Politics has been compiling the list for more than 25 years. The rankings are based on 28 litmus test roll-call votes in the state House of Representatives this year..

For the IMP rankings, 100% is the gold standard for a representative who voted the liberal position on roll calls for an array of social, economic, taxation, environmental, civil rights, and public health/safety issues. If a roll call was missed, it was simply thrown out.

IMP has ranked all 110 members of the state House in 2014. That list is available to subscribers in our Sept. 22, 2014, edition.

The list of the top three Most Liberal and Most Conservative House members from 2009 to 2013, is available at insidemichiganpolitics.com.

Susan J. Demas Communications Acquires Inside Michigan Politics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         Contact: Susan J. Demas, 517.420.6779; susan@sjdemas.com 

LANSING - Publisher Bill Ballenger announced today that Susan J. Demas Communications, LLC, has acquired Inside Michigan Politics (IMP), the must-read biweekly newsletter for Michigan's business and political leaders. 

Journalist and businesswoman Susan J. Demas, 36, serves as CEO of the Lansing-based company. Demas will be the new Publisher of IMP. She will join a small number of women who own and operate publications in Michigan, according to information provided by the Michigan Press Association.
 
"Inside Michigan Politics is the gold standard for political journalism in Michigan," Demas said. "I look forward to ensuring that IMP continues its tradition of fair and non-partisan reporting and analysis. Most of all, I look forward to the opportunity of working with Bill, who has been a friend and mentor to me for many years." 

Ballenger will continue to be an essential part of IMP, serving as Associate Editor for three years, as well as continuing to do speaking and media engagements across the state. A former state senator and representative, Ballenger founded IMP in 1987. Ballenger has been dubbed by the Detroit News as "Michigan's undisputed Crown Prince of Pundits." 

"For almost three decades, I've tried to make the newsletter be the essential resource for those interested in what's really going on in Michigan politics," Ballenger said. "Under Susan's leadership, I expect that to continue. I believe Susan is the right person to continue IMP's unwavering commitment to thoughtful and precise political journalism." 

IMP is the go-to source for Michigan politics for national media, and has been cited inThe New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, Roll Call, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Hotline and theAssociated Press. 

"Those who subscribe to Inside Michigan Politics expect information and analysis they won't get anywhere else," Demas said. "When you subscribe to IMP, you get insight into Lansing, beyond talking points and spin." 

Inside Michigan Politics can be found on Facebook, on Twitter at @InsideMIPolitix, and at the website, www.insidemichiganpolitics

About Susan J. Demas
Demas has spent 12 years in journalism as a reporter, editor and columnist. She is a 2006 Knight Foundation Fellow in nonprofit and political journalism through Marshall University in Huntington, W.V. Demas's work has appeared in or on 70 international, national and state publications, including Forbes, The Guardian U.K., Newsweek, the Australian Broadcasting Network and NBC. 

Demas currently serves as Political Columnist for MLive.com, and regularly provides analysis for Off the Record, Michigan Radio and Night Shift with Tony Trupiano. She previously was Deputy Editor for Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS), where she worked for almost six years. 

A native of Northbrook, Illinois, Demas now lives in Okemos, Michigan. She is engaged and has two children, ages 11 and 9.