The newest Democratic entrant into the 2018 race for state attorney general may be state Sen. Steve Bieda, a legislative veteran from Macomb County.
Bieda is sending out feelers and has received encouragement from some key Democrats behind the scenes. The Warren Democrat served six years in the House and is completing his second, 4-year term in the Senate, where he will be term-limited at the end of 2018.
The only announced candidate to succeed Attorney General Bill Schuette is Wayne County lawyer Dana Nessel, the crusading civil rights attorney who won the case that legalized same-sex marriage. Patrick Miles, former U.S. Attorney for Michigan’s Western District – a Barack Obama appointee and an Obama classmate at Harvard Law School – is expected to announce his candidacy before the end of the month.
State Rep. Tim Greimel, the former House Minority Leader from Auburn Hills, is also likely to enter the race.
If he runs, Bieda will emphasize his legislative accomplishments and his 12 years of service on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The senator has reached across the aisle to pass substantive legislation, with work on judicial reform, election reform and enhancements to paternity laws and dog-fighting restrictions.
He has strong ties to labor leaders and Democratic Party standardbearers. But he has no experience as a courtroom litigator or as a prosecutor. Given the Democrats’ history of using the AG and secretary of state nominations to balance the party’s ticket, Bieda’s strong ties in Macomb County would be a plus.
Another name floated for the post is Susanna Shkreli, who belatedly ran a Democratic congressional campaign last fall against Republican Rep. Mike Bishop when actress Melissa Gilbert pulled out of the race in August 2016. Shkreli, a Clarkston resident, serves as a Macomb County assistant prosecutor.
The two parties will nominate candidates for attorney general and secretary of state at their August 2018 state conventions, though the Democrats hope to reach a consensus on their nominees by next spring.
With Schuette term-limited, the almost-certain contenders for his seat within the GOP will be two lawmakers also facing term limits — House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton).