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Low voter turnout woes, Congressional races heat up, and $3.1 million for a Detroit "blight bundle"

Nov 1, 2014

Real estate developer Herb Strather. Strather spent millions this week on a Detroit "blight bundle."
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss who’ll be more hurt by low voter turnout on Tuesday, more Congressional race surprises, and a Detroit developer who dropped $3.1 million on some of the city's worst properties.


Voter turnout

Midterm elections aren’t known for high voter turnouts, particularly when it comes to Democrats. More than 900,000 registered Democrats sat out the 2010 midterm election.

This time, the Michigan Democratic Party decided to concentrate on absentee votes by sending ballot applications to more than one million registered members.

Lessenberry said early indications show those efforts could pay off for the party.

Congressional races

In the final days before the election, some Congressional seat races have been really heating up.

One is in the 6th District, where a national super PAC has spent millions on Democrat Paul Clements’ campaign against incumbent Congressman Fred Upton.

Another is in the 11th District, where Congressman Kerry Bentivolio has waged a write-in campaign against Republican David Trott. Bentivolio, also a Republican, lost to Trott in the primaries last August.

Lessenberry said he’ll be watching both races closely next Tuesday.

Blight bundle

A real estate developer named Herb Strather bought more than 6000 of of Detroit’s most blighted properties this week.

He made the $3.1 million purchase at Wayne County’s yearly tax-foreclosure auction. Strather said he wants to work with community groups to redevelop the mostly vacant lots and houses.

Lessenberry said the deal is “strange” and may not go as planned.

“There’s some indication that [Strather] thought the Detroit land bank would pay to raze the properties on his land,” Lessenberry said. “That’s not how it works.”

Strather made a down payment for the property on Wednesday. He has two weeks to pay the rest.

– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom