This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry review Election Day in Michigan including voter turnout, victories and disappointments for both parties, and what yesterday’s results could mean for the next four years.
This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry review Election Day in Michigan including voter turnout, victories and disappointments for both parties and what yesterday’s results could mean for the next four years.
Midterm elections are notorious for low voter turnouts, and yesterday was no exception.
So far, vote counts for governor are hovering just under 3 million. That’s down from 3.4 million in 2010’s midterm election.
Democrats in particular tend to be hurt by low turnouts. The party had hoped a big push for absentee ballots would help win back control in Lansing, but Republicans swept many of the state’s major races last night – including Gov. Rick Snyder’s re-election over Democrat Mark Schauer.
Lessenberry said it’s not yet clear why people didn’t turn out, but dismal weather across the state may be partially to blame.
In a bright spot for the Democrats, Congressman Gary Peters defeated Republican opponent Terri Lynn Land for a seat on the U.S. Senate. Polls in the months leading up to the election had favored Peters to win.
Land faced criticism over her campaign, with some accusing the former Secretary of State of avoiding interviews as well as her own supporters.
Lessenberry said Republicans “must be kicking themselves.”
“People voted Republican ticket but paused to vote for Gary Peters,” he said. “[Peters] was seen as business-friendly, so some groups such as the Metropolitan Detroit Chamber of Commerce supported him who normally don’t support Democrats.”
In addition to reelecting Gov. Snyder, Michigan Republicans had plenty to celebrate last night.
The party picked up one seat in the state Senate, where they now hold a 27-11 super majority. Republicans also won four seats in the state House.
Lessenberry wonders how some of the new elects will impact the governor’s plans in the coming term.
“There’s a lot of new Tea Party members, so it remains to be seen what Gov. Snyder can get done in the next four years with a Republican Legislature that is probably more conservative than he is,” Lessenberry said.
– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom