Term Limited Candidates

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Candidate Manual:
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In Michigan the number of terms an individual may serve in a certain elective office is limited. At the state level, those offices are:

State House of RepresentativesThree two-year terms
State SenateTwo four-year terms
GovernorTwo four-year terms
Lieutenant GovernorTwo four-year terms
Attorney GeneralTwo four-year terms
Secretary of StateTwo four-year terms

Contact the County Clerk of the applicable county for information regarding term limits for city, county, township, school or village offices.

Authorized Expenditures: An officeholder who is barred from seeking reelection may not use his or her Candidate Committee to make election-related expenditures. An expenditure is defined as the payment or transfer of anything of ascertainable monetary value in assistance of, or in opposition to, the nomination or election of a candidate. An officeholder who is seeking election to a new elective office may not make expenditures for the nomination or election to the new office from the bank account of the Candidate Committee that was used to run for the term-limited office.

An officeholder who is constitutionally barred from seeking reelection may make the following types of expenditures or disbursements from his or her existing Candidate Committee bank account:

Disposing of Debts from a Previous Election Cycle: Debts may be carried forward and paid in subsequent election cycles. Section 52(6) of the MCFA, MCL 169.252(6), sets out the requirements for paying debts from a previous election cycle with funds received in a current election cycle. There are two options provided in Section 52(6) for the payment of debt from a previous election cycle.

Option 1: Written designation from contributor is required.

A contribution received by a candidate committee is considered to be for the current election cycle unless designated by the contributor for a previous election cycle. A designated contribution applies only to the limit of the cycle so designated. A contributor can designate a contribution for a previous election cycle if:

  • The designation is made in writing for a specific election cycle identified by the contributor by the date of the election or the year of the election.
  • It can be substantiated that the contributor did not reach the contribution limit set for the candidate in the election cycle identified in the designation; and
  • The designated contribution does not exceed the candidate committee’s outstanding debts from the election cycle identified in the designation.

Option 2: Written designation from contributor is not required.

A contribution received by a candidate committee is considered to be for the current election cycle and is applied to the contribution limit of the current election cycle. The debt is paid using the current cycle funds without a written designation up to the contribution limit of the current cycle. The contribution limit of the previous cycle is not considered in this option. Once the contribution limit is reached, additional contributions from the contributor can only be used to pay debts from a previous election cycle using option 1 above.

Committees are encouraged to resolve all debts promptly to avoid future filing requirements and potential violations.

Make Disbursements For Incidental Office Expenses: The Candidate Committee account of a candidate who is holding office may be used to make disbursements to pay expenses that are incidental to holding that office. See the section on Incidental Expense Disbursements.

Transfer Unexpended Funds To Another Candidate Committee Held By The Same Person: See section on Transfer of Funds.

In-Kind Transfers: The remaining value of any transferred assets should be reported as an in-kind expenditure on the In-kind Expenditure Schedule. The recipient committee would report the receipt of the transferred assets as an in-kind contribution on the Itemized In-kind Contribution Schedule as “Goods or Services donated” with the description as “Transferred Assets”.

Partial Terms: A candidate that is appointed or elected as a State Representative or State Senate is considered to serve one term if the partial term period is greater than half of a term for that office.

Page last modified on July 13, 2017, at 02:56 PM