John James and Carl Marlinga Lead in Poll for Michigan's New 10th Congressional District

January 31, 2022, 12:39 AM by  Allan Lengel

Businessman John James and Judge Carl Marlinga

Republican John James, who twice lost a U.S. Senate bid, and Democrat Carl Marlinga have substantial leads among likely voters in a primary race for the new 10th Congressional District seat, acccording to a poll released Sunday night.

In the November general election, the poll shows Democrat Marlinga, a Macomb County Circuit Court judge and former county prosecutor, faring better than Republican businessman James, both among Blacks and whites. 

James on Monday announced his bid for Congress. Marlinga, who has been mentioned in party circles as a candidate, has yet to enter the race in the new district that encompasses parts of Macomb and Oakland counties, including Rochester Hills, Warren and Sterling Heights.

The poll shows Marlinga and James have substantial leads in the Aug. 2 primary over prospective and actual candidates for the U.S. House seat.

The poll included 500 likely voters in the primary and general election and has a margin of error of minus or plus 4.5 points. 

Republican Lisa McClain represents the current 10th Congressional District. 

The survey by Target Insyght in Lansing shows James leading in the Republican primary with 68 percent support, followed by GOP candidate, lawyer, activist and former nurse Eric Esshaki with 7 percent. Twenty-four percent were undecided. 

Many undecided on Democratic choice

Marlinga leads in the Democratic primary with 33 percent support, followed by Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor with 16 percent, human rights lawyer Huwaida Arraf with 3 percent and Warren City Councilwoman Angela Rogensues with 2 percent. Forty-seven percent were undecided. As the poll was being conducted, Taylor announced he wouldn't be running. Both Rogensues and Arraf have announced their candidacy.

"This is a very competitive district, and it could end up being one of the most expensive congressional races in the country because it could help determine who controls Congress," said Ed Sarpolus, executive director of Target Insyght, who conducted the poll.  

In the November general election, the poll shows Marlinga leading James 46-43 percent, with 11 percent undecided. Marlinga leads Republican Esshaki in the general election 52-31 percent.

When it came to Marlinga versus James in November, the poll showed Marlinga was favored by 64 percent of Blacks and 46 percent of whites compared to James, who had support of 43 percent of whites and 21 percent of Blacks.

James better-known than Marlinga

Among those polled, James had a favorable rating of 39 percent and an unfavorable rating of 39 percent.  Another 21 percent said they weren't familiar with him. Marlinga had a favorable rating of 30 percent and an unfavorable rating of 18 percent. Another 53 percent said they weren't familiar with him.

"Interestingly, even though more than half of the voters are not familiar with Carl Marlinga, he still leads John James," Sarpolus said. "The poll shows John James is a well defined candidate by the fact he has an equal number of positives and negatives among voters."

In announcing his candidacy Monday in a video on three social media platforms, James says:

"I'm not afraid to listen, even if you disagree with me. I'm not a career politician. But I do know how to create Michigan jobs. Faith and family, God and country, service before self. That matters to me because I'm guided by my core principles that have not changed."

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