Election 2012

Election 2012
3:28 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney, Stabenow far outspend opponents on ads in Michigan

A new TV ad for Senator Debbie Stabenow.
screen grab

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow are both far outspending their opponents on TV ads in Michigan.

That’s according to a report released Monday by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

The report says groups supporting Romney have spent about $13 million for ads in Michigan since the February primary.

The Obama campaign and supporters haven’t spent as much in Michigan, but Obama still has a lead among likely voters, according to most polls.

Rich Robinson is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

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Election 2012
3:24 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney closes on Obama in new poll; Stabenow extends lead

The Romney campaign has made significant gains in a recent EPIC-MRA poll.
Gage Skidmore Flickr

A poll released yesterday by EPIC-MRA of Lansing shows the presidential race tightening in Michigan.

Aided by a strong debate performance, Mitt Romney has reduced President Barack Obama’s ten point lead to just three points—within the margin of error for the poll reports the Detroit Free Press.

From the Free Press:

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Election 2012
2:49 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

6 things to know about Proposal 2; Collective bargaining

Protestors outside the Indiana Capitol building when the "right-to-work" legislation passed earlier this year.
screen grab from video The Statehouse File

Michigan voters are faced with a choice:

Should the right to collective bargaining for all Michigan workers be enshrined in the Michigan Constitution?

The amendment would affect the rights of workers in private companies and workers in the public sector.

If you work for a private company, the right to collectively bargain is upheld by federal law (the National Labor Relations Act). But the NLRA does not cover government workers.

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Election 2012
3:00 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

VP candidate Paul Ryan scheduled to appear at Oakland University 'victory rally'

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is hoping a visit from VP candidate Paul Ryan will put pressure on the Obama campaign in Michigan.
Monkeyz_Unkle Flickr

Paul Ryan will be at Oakland University in Rochester tonight as the Romney campaign refocuses its attention on Michigan.

This comes after fundraising visits to Midland and Novi from Chris Christie on Saturday night.

As MLive reports, the vice presidential candidate will be introduced by Kid Rock at what the campaign is calling a “victory rally.”

From MLive:

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Politics & Government
12:53 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

CRC to offer webinar on 3 ballot proposals today at 2pm

The Citizens Research Council has been analyzing the six ballot proposals facing Michigan voters.
CRC

The non-partisan, independent Citizens Research Council has been busy analyzing the six ballot proposals facing Michigan voters.

Today at 2 p.m., they're holding an online "webinar" to discuss proposals 1, 2, and 4.

From the CRC:

CRC will offer summaries of its analyses of the referendum on Public Act 4 of 2011, the proposed constitutional amendments to enshrine the right to collective bargaining in the constitution, and the proposed constitutional amendment to establish the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and provide limited collective bargaining rights to home health care workers.

To take part in the webinar, you can follow this link.

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat October 6, 2012

The week in politics

A view of the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Every Saturday Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about some of the biggest stories in the week's news. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson was ordered to be in federal court this week, even though she asked someone else to speak on her behalf. Also, controversy surrounding Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R) brings up the question of whether Democrats can be competitive for the Speaker of the House’s seat in November. Plus, a Detroit scandal involving Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee creates head ache for Mayor Dave Bing.

It's Just Politics
2:43 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

The debate over debates continues between the Stabenow and Hoekstra campaigns

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow (pictured) and her opponent former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra have not been able to agree on a debate schedule this election cycle.
Studio08Denver Flickr

This week we saw the debate showdown between President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney. Political pundits are talking non-stop about how Romney pulled off a campaign reversal. Debates can be game changers. And, then, there are the Michigan debates, or lack thereof. We have a statewide race that pits incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow against former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra. They’ve both agreed to debates. They just haven’t agreed to the same debates.

It’s a debate… about debates

Hoekstra has the most to gain by debating. It’s why he’s pushing for more than just the two that he and Stabenow have agreed upon – at least in concept. One of those two debates, to take place at the Detroit Economic Club, isn’t really a debate but more of a joint appearance. As the incumbent with what appears to be a very comfortable lead,  Stabenow has the most to lose. Certainly we saw an example of that Wednesday night: the perils of a debate to a front-runner. So, it raises the question, if Stabenow has very little to gain from a Senatorial debate, why hasn’t Hoekstra agreed to dates for the two appearances both campaigns have accepted. Holding out certainly hasn’t seemed to help the Hoekstra campaign.

Foreign affairs

If you’re the Hoekstra campaign and you can’t get your opponent to debate and you’re looking for something that changes the conversation, pulls you out of a rut, what better than to take a few days to travel… to the Middle East; Israel to be exact. This past weekend Hoekstra flew to Tel Aviv in an effort to turn the conversation to a topic where he is taken seriously: foreign policy. When Hoekstra was in Congress he chaired the House Intelligence Committee and had a security clearance.

However, when Hoekstra returned from the trip and was asked about the officials with whom he met, he said he couldn’t say. He says this was because the trip was not State Department-approved and in order to get officials in Israel to speak with him, he had to promise them their anonymity.

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Election 2012
4:54 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Federal judge orders Ruth Johnson to defend citizenship checkbox in court

Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.
MI SOS

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will be in federal court Friday to defend a citizenship checkbox she ordered on November ballot applications.

Election officials would ask voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship, but would not deny them a ballot if they decline to answer.

A number of county clerks say it’ll cause confusion and could scare off eligible voters.

Andrew Nickelhoff, an attorney for the coalition against the checkbox, questions its legitimacy.  

“We know from experience from the August primary and from information we’ve received afterward that many voters don’t think it’s appropriate, and many clerks who are administering these elections don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said.

The Secretary of State had filed a motion asking to have her election director speak on her behalf during the hearing.

The judge denied the request today, saying she had to be present in the courtroom.

Johnson says the citizenship question will help cut down on voter fraud and the number of non-citizens who receive ballots.

Politics & Government
4:26 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Stateside: Impressions of the first Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama square off in their first debate.
Commission on Presidential Debates

The first Presidential debate of 2012 is in the history books.

Radio, Television and Newspapers are filled today with opinions, verdicts and spins.

Who came out on top?

Will the undecided voters be moved one way or another?

Did the 90-minute debate contain anything likely to strike a deep chord with voters here in Michigan?

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Politics & Government
4:18 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Political Roundup: Presidential debate, Bolger problems and citizenship checkbox

Every Thursday we take a look at Michigan politics with Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

They talk with Jennifer White about the lack of mention for the auto industry at Wednesday night’s first Presidential debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and the Republican Candidate for President Mitt Romney.

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Politics & Government
10:55 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Watching the debate tonight? Play along with 'Debate Bingo'

Keep the blood pressure down, play some Bingo tonight.
WNYC

Our friends at WNYC have come up with a way to keep score at home tonight as you watch the first presidential debate.

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Politics & Government
10:34 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Hoekstra trying to get traction in Senate race with foreign policy

Pete Hoekstra is running against Sen. Debbie Stabenow for the U.S. Senate.
Rick Pluta Michigan Radio

Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra is trying to make foreign policy a bigger issue in Michigan’s U.S. Senate race.

Jobs and the economy seem to be tops in voters’ minds, and Hoekstra says he does not expect that to change.

But the Republican nominee says the recent turmoil in the Middle East should make President Obama’s handling of foreign affairs an issue.

Hoekstra says that’s why he staged a quick visit to Israel over the weekend to meet with unnamed academics and government officials.

Hoekstra chaired the House Intelligence Committee as a member of Congress.

He says incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow endorses the President’s foreign and energy policies.

“She’s continuing to send a signal that says, We’re going to rely on a part of the world that right now we’re screwing up. It’s going to be less stable. It’s going to be more anti-American, and that’s where we’re going to get our energy from,” says Hoekstra.

Stabenow says she thinks the President is doing a good job, and her campaign will continue to focus on jobs and fair trade.

She supports the use of more renewable energy resources.

Opinion
9:00 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Want to vote early in Michigan? What's your excuse?

Voting booth
suttonhoo.blogspot.com

The presidential election is still a month away, but in many states, early voting is already underway.

Today, Ohio opened the polls to early voters.

It’s one of 34 states that have some kind of early voting system.

Michigan, however, is not one of those states.

Last week, I went to my local city hall. I was feeling good. It was my daughter’s 18th birthday. I helped her register to vote - civic pride for a dad.

After that, my mood darkened.

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It's Just Politics
2:32 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

With 38 days until Election Day, interest groups try to bet on winning candidates

It's Just Politics, Friday, September 28th, 2012
Matthileo Flickr

We are now a little more than 925 hours from when the polls open in Michigan on Election Day. But, for some voting has already started. Absentee ballots have been available for a week now. Soon, they’ll go in the mail to households that have requested them and people will begin mailing them back and dropping them off. Which means, it’s getting close to the end game: people are making their final decisions before November 6th. But, we’re not just talking about voters here, lobbyists and interest groups are making decisions about candidates, as well.

These are the interest groups that swirl around elections – we’ve seen a lot of attention paid to 527 groups and so-called educational committees that are not actually part of a campaign – but still put out ads and mailers in support of a particular candidate. And, here in Michigan, these interests are keeping a close eye on the state House - where all 110 seats are up for re-election.

Recently, there have been some polls that should give a modicum of hope to Democrats. They’re in the minority in Lansing, and they need to turn 10 seats to take control of the state House. The Detroit News published a poll last week that suggests Democrats have the advantage in a generic matchup against  Republicans; meaning these people who were polled expressed a preference for a no-name Democrat in a match-up with a no-name Republican in legislative races.

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Politics & Government
3:50 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Group opposed to emergency managers files lawsuit

A lawsuit claims no state-appointed managers should be running Michigan cities or school districts until after voters determine the fate of the emergency manager law in November.

The action was filed today in Lansing by lawyers opposed to emergency managers.

The lawsuit says Governor Rick Snyder lost the authority to name managers to run struggling cities or school districts once the referendum on Public Act Four was put on the November ballot.

That suspended the law enacted last year, but the governor claims authority to name emergency financial managers – with less-sweeping powers – under the law that preceded it.

That makes no sense, said attorney John Philo.

“Something strikes me as very wrong about that. The presumption should be that until the people decide, we go back to our standard form of government, which is elected officials.”

Philo said there’s nothing in law that says we then revive old law to fill the gap.

“We don’t. We go back to our standard form of government, which is elected officials,” said Philo. “We’re almost treating elected officials as an aberrant form of government when we do this. That’s our standard – it’s elected officials. We go back to that until voters have their say in November.”

There are seven Michigan cities and school districts being run by state-appointed financial managers.

The lawsuit says those managers should be ordered to step down and turn their operations over to mayors, city councils, and school boards.

*This post was updated from an earlier version

12:16 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Update on the voter citizenship question; confusion continues

Lead in text: 
A hearing on the ACLU's lawsuit over Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's requirement to have a citizenship checkbox on all ballots is expected within the next week. Several county clerks around the state are refusing to follow through with the requirement. Detroit election workers were instructed to black out the box.
"What we're saying is the Secretary of State may be the chief election official, but she's not above the law." - ACLU lawyer Michael Steinberg DETROIT, MI -- Decisions by several local officials to defy Michigan's Secretary of State and exclude a citizenship question from November ballot applications bolster a federal lawsuit against the check box, a top ACLU lawyer said Wednesday evening.
Election 2012
9:03 am
Wed September 26, 2012

The six ballot proposals facing Michigan voters

Check back later for more coverage on Michigan's six ballot proposals.
Flickr

Michigan voters will see six proposals on their ballots.

There is one referendum on a current law, and five proposed amendments to the Michigan State Constitution. 

See the links below for the proposals as they will appear on your ballot.

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks as Michigan Radio will be providing detailed analysis of each proposal.

Referendum:

Proposal 1: The emergency manager law

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5:38 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Little evidence found of voter fraud

Lead in text: 
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently broke down how she came up with her numbers of illegal non-citizen voters on our show "Stateside with Cynthia Canty." She estimated that as many as 4,000 non-citizens are on state voter rolls. The AP reports that Johnson's figures have not been verified.
Democrats say the searches waste time and, worse, could disenfranchise eligible voters who are swept up in the checks. "I find it offensive that I'm being required to do more than any other citizen to prove that I can vote," said Samantha Meiring, 37, a Colorado voter and South African immigrant who became a U.S.
Law
2:40 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Michigan State Rep. Bob Genetski found guilty on drunken driving charge

Republican state Representative Bob Genetski
Photo courtesy of Rep. Genetski's office

A jury has found Rep. Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck) guilty for driving drunk earlier this year in East Lansing.

Genetski's defense was that blood alcohol tests were conducted improperly. The jury sided with the prosecution.

More on today's verdict from the Holland Sentinel:

Rep. Bob Genetski's face betrayed no emotion as the jury foreman said "guilty," the one-word verdict in his drunken driving trial.

Genetski was whisked away immediately to fulfill requirements of probation until his sentence is handed down by East Lansing District Judge David Jordon. The judge ordered Genetski to set up a substance abuse screening schedule.

The lawmaker will not be talking to the media, according to his attorney, Mike Nichols.

Genetski is campaigning for a third term in Michigan's House of Representatives.

The Sentinel reports Genetski faces "having up to 6 points added to his driving record;" a $1,000 annual driver responsibility fee for two years; and being ordered to community service.

Economy
4:48 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

MSU releases "State of the State" survey

A survey conducted by Michigan State University's Charles Ballard shows an improved approval rating for Governor Snyder.
MSU

The latest "State of the State" survey from Michigan State University indicates people in the state are feeling pretty good about the economy, a little more positive about the Governor, and the same about the President.

MSU Economics Professor Charles Ballard conducts the survey of likely voters in Michigan once a quarter. The latest was taken in August.

It shows that Governor Snyder's approval rating rose, from 33 to 38 percent. 

That's still lower than the President's 41 percent.  But that 41 percent is unchanged from the previous quarter's survey.   

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