State Senate - District 29
Republican Candidates – Bill Hardiman (Kentwood)
Democrat Candidates – David LaGrand (Grand Rapids)
Current Rep – Ken Hardiman (R-Kentwood)
Bill Hardiman – 53.93%
Steve Pestka – 44.63%
Bush – 49.92%
Kerry – 49.06%
Republican Michigander’s prognosis – Slightly leans Republican
Kent County – Cascade Township, Grand Rapids, Grattan Township, Kentwood, Lowell,
Lowell Township, Vergennes Township.
The redistricters were nice to the democrats here giving them a swing seat not only by keeping all of Grand Rapids together, but by not extending this towards the southwest part of the county which is 70%+ Republican. This is a swing district, which I only have leaning Republican due to incumbency. Bill Hardiman won this open seat in 2002 by defeating a popular moderate democrat state rep in Steve Pestka. Grand Rapids has become more democrat since then, so I expect the dems to take a shot at this district again. This time, they are running David LaGrand, an attorney.
2/3 of the district is the City of Grand Rapids. It has gone from 50.42% Democrat in 2000 to 50.30% Democrat in 2002 to 55.30% democrat in 2004. I think much of that has to do with the war, but will it be sustained at 55% or go back to being 50-51% democrat? Grand Rapids is also heavily minority with large black and Mexican populations. Hardiman ran ahead of the ticket in 2002 due to inroads with blacks. Will he be able to do the same in 2006? We’ll see.
This is a district I’m keeping an eye on. I expect the democrats to contest this district. I’ll leave it leaning republican for now, but this could be a tossup in the future.