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U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan announces 2014 candidates

Mark McFarlin of Bay City is the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan nominee for Governor.
Mark McFarlin of Bay City is the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan nominee for Governor.
U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan/Marc Sosnowski

In an email sent Saturday, the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan announced their slate of candidates for the general election in November. The Taxpayers Party nominated candidates for twenty-eight federal, state, and local offices. Of those, fourteen will appear on ballots in Washtenaw County, including the party's nominees for U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and the state's four educational governance boards. The Taxpayers Party, which is the Michigan affiliate of the Constitution Party, nominated their slate at their state convention on June 28th, but waited until this week to announce their slate.

The Taxpayers Party's nominee for Governor, Mark McFarlin of Bay City, proves that the third time was the charm for his gubernatorial ambitions. MLive reported Saturday that In 2013, McFarlin had circulated petitions to secure a place on the August primary ballot as a Democratic candidates for Governor while expressing his doubts that President Barack Obama was really a citizen of the United States. Earlier this year, he switched his affiliation to Republican in order to challenge incumbent Rick Snyder for Governor in the primary. In June, he filed his papers with the Taxpayers Party to be considered at their convention.

When asked about his nomination by the Taxpayers Party, McFarlin told MLive, "It means a lot because of the reform we need in the state. We're giving the people a choice."

In addition to working as a private investigator, McFarlin has run three times for Bay County Executive as a Democrat in 2004, 2008, and 2012, losing each time to incumbent Thomas Hickner in the primary. He also ran for the Democratic nomination for the Michigan Senate in 2002, losing to Mike Hanley in the primary.

In addition to getting his wish to challenge major party candidates Snyder and Schauer in November, McFarlin will face Libertarian Mary Buzuma of Grand Haven, Green Party nominee Paul Homeniuk of Lansing, and a likely nominee from the Natural Law Party.

Joining McFarlin on the Taxpayers Party ticket is Richard Mendoza of Saginaw. Mendoza will likely face Republican incumbent Brian Calley, who is being challenged by at least one contender at the Republican convention next month, Democrat Lisa Brown, who is currently the Oakland County Clerk, Libertarian Scotty Boman, and Green Party nominee Candace Caveny, along with a likely nominee from the Natural Law Party.

Richard Matkin of Hazel Park will once again be running for the U. S. Senate on the Taxpayers Party slate. In 2012, he ran for the seat now held by Democrat Debbie Stabenow. This year, Matkin is contesting the open seat being vacated by Carl Levin. Matkin faces likely Democratic nominee and current U.S. Representative Gary Peters, likely Republican nominee and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, Libertarian Jim Fulner, Green Chris Wahmhoff, and a likely nominee from the Natural Law Party. Matkin had previously been a Republican, serving as precinct delegate in 2008.

The Taxpayers Party nominated someone who is a newcomer to elected office but not a stranger to controversy to contend for the Seventh Congressional District seat currently being held by Republican Tim Walberg. Rick Strawcutter of Adrian has been the Pastor at the Church on Bent Oak since 1976. He is an outspoken critic of the federal government and had run Radio Free Lenawee from 1996 until 2001, when the FCC shut it down for not having a license. Strawcutter also has two published books to his credit, "The Truth About Bankers, Lawyers & and Judges (The Unholy Trinity)" and "Without Controversy." In addition to facing the surivor of the Republican primary, which pits Walberg against challenger Douglas Radcliffe North, Strawcutter will be on the ballot against Democrat Pam Byrnes and Libertarian Ken Proctor.

This year's nominees for Attorney General and Secretary of State have experience running for their offices, having contested the office as Taxpayers Party nominees in 2010. In addition to his previous run for Attorney General, Gerald Van Sickle of Wellston ran for University of Michigan Regent in 2012. Van Sickle will be facing Republican incumbent Bill Schuette, a nominee from the Democratic Party, most likely Michigan State University professor Mark Totten, Libertarian Justin Altman of Ypsilanti, and Green Party nominee John Anthony La Pietra of Marshall.

Like Van Sickle, Robert Gale of Sterling Heights ran for a university governing board after running for Secretary of State, having been nominated for Wayne State University Governor in 2012. This year, Gale will face Republican incumbent Ruth Johnson, Libertarian Jamie Lewis, and a nominee to be determined at next month's Democratic state convention for Secretary of State.

The Taxpayers Party nominated a full slate of eight candidates for the four boards supervising statewide K-12 education and Michigan's three research universities.

Karen Adams and John Adams of Lake Odessa are the nominees for State Board of Education. Karen Adams ran for the same office on the Taxpayers Party slate in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

The Taxpayers Party nominated Joe Sanger of Lansing and Christine Schwartz of Dorr Township to run for seats on the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Sanger was on the ballot for the Board of Regents in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Schwartz had run for Michigan State University Trustee in 2010.

Steven Young of Hopkins is repeating his 2012 run for Michigan State University Trustee. He's being joined by Crystal Van Sickle of Wellston. Young is the Chairman of the Allegan County Tea Party and had run for the Allegan County Commission in 2010. Crystal Van Sickle shares her address with Attorney General nominee Gerald Van Sickle.

Mark Sosnowski of Detroit is running again the Wayne State University Board of Governors, just as he did in 2012. In 2010, he ran for the old 14th Congressional District seat occupied by John Conyers. Joining Sosnowski is Shari Matkin of Hazel Park, who shares an address with Senate nominee Richard Matkin.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the Taxpayers Party nominated twenty-nine candidates. This was a miscount.