Election 2013

Each week we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

The election results are in and Mike Duggan will be Detroit’s next mayor. His tenure begins while the city remains under the control of an emergency manager. What does his win say about what Detroit voters want in their next mayor?

And then, the city of Royal Oak passed a human rights ordinance, it provides protections against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Also, Lansing, Jackson, and Ferndale all passed ordinances to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Does this give us any indication of where Michigan is headed on some of these social issues? 

Listen to the full interview above.

Robert Donovan / Flickr

On today's show, we took a look at key election results from around the state, from marijuana to gay rights. How did you vote?  And what's the take away from Election 2013?

Then, we spoke with Michigan singer-songwriter Stewart Franke as he takes us inside his battle with leukemia.

And, we talked Michigan beer. A new film looks at the craft beer scene in our state.

First on the show, it has been quite a journey for a candidate who got booted off the primary ballot, was going to fold his tent and walk away, then was urged to mount a write-in campaign, swept the primary and today, is the new Mayor-Elect of Detroit.

Mike Duggan has become Detroit's first white mayor in 40 years, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has covered the Duggan campaign and was at the victory party last night. She joined us today.

Former medical center chief Mike Duggan will be the next mayor of financially troubled Detroit, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon 55% to 45%. Duggan will be Detroit's first white mayor since Coleman Young was elected in 1973 as the city's first black mayor.

So, we heard from Mike Duggan and results from around the state, we looked today for some perspective on what these results mean for Michigan.

Jack Lessenberry - Michigan Radio's Political Analyst - joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

So, is there any overall meaning to yesterday’s elections, at least in Michigan? Or is it a case, as former House Speaker Tip O‘Neill said, that “all politics are local?” That it would be hard to read any deeper meaning into results from Detroit, or Saugatuck?

Usually, I’ve found that Tip was right, especially in what are called “off-off year elections;” those held in odd-numbered years. But this year, I think you can find common themes and moods.

Voters wanted change, but want to hedge their bets. They aren’t very fond of government these days; many proposals for new money were voted down, with two exceptions: Schools and roads.

It was a long shot.

The carp was running as a write-in candidate, and we all know how hard it can be to get voters to spell your name right (amiright, Mike Dugeon?!).

In the end, voters in Ann Arbor's 4th Ward cast 209 write-in votes. Not enough to topple the favorite John Eaton, who - as a biped - ran away with the council seat collecting 1,678 votes.

So it's back to normal life - rooting around in muck of the Huron River for the Twenty-pound Carp

He was a gracious loser. He congratulated Eaton on his win and thanked his advisors, "Shelly the beatboxing turtle and John Quackles, the duck who served as legal counsel."

Read his speech below. (If your browser doesn't load it, read it here.)

Comedy Central / screen grab

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero says he hopes Tuesday’s election results will put an end to “sniping” in city politics.

Bernero easily won his third term as the capitol city’s mayor.  His slate of city council candidates also won. 

Bernero says the results show voters want to end the gridlock on the Lansing city council.

“This is realignment.  This is the voters saying to the council ‘Get with the program’.”]

Bernero believes it’s his ‘program’ the voters want.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Here are the election results for the races we watched here at Michigan Radio.

Please go to your county's election page for more detailed results in your area.

You can also find information about the races not listed below on the Secretary of State's general elections website.

*Winners are in bold below.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

Voters in three more Michigan cities approved ballot questions today decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.

Ballot proposals in Lansing, Jackson and Ferndale each passed with more than 60% of the vote.

“This is an historic night ... a landslide by all considerations,” says Jeff Hank, who headed Lansing’s pro-marijuana campaign. “It sends a message not only to our local politicians, but politicians at the state level that it’s time to do something.”

Voters in Detroit elected Mike Duggan as mayor of Detroit.

Duggan, the former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, campaigned hard in Detroit neighborhoods prior to the August 7th primary. He then made history after he won the primary as a write-in candidate after he was booted off the ballot on a technicality.

Duggan becomes the city's first white mayor since Roman Gribbs finished out his term in 1973.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala at GM's Oshawa Assembly plant in Canada.
GM

Voters in Royal Oak approved by a wide margin a local ordinance that protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Royal Oak is the 30th Michigan community to adopt an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance. And gay rights supporters say that should put pressure on politicians at the state Capitol to do the same.

“I think as more non-discrimination policies are passed at the local level, that it does make quite the statement that are legislators are not doing the job that our citizens are expected of them,” said Emily Dievendorf of Equality Michigan.

There is an effort underway to add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law. But a bill to do that has not been formally introduced.

The Royal Oak city council approved the human rights ordinance last March. Opponents went to the ballot in in an effort to block it.

1958 Chevrolet Impala.
GM

Benton Harbor residents rejected the idea of an income tax in their community. The vote was 667 opposed and 543 in favor. The city has long struggled with budget problems and is under a state-appointed emergency manager.

Fox 28 reports on the reaction from Benton Harbor's Mayor:

Mayor James Hightower says he's elated that the tax failed.

Commissioner Trenton Bowens says his camp is not giving up, they'll work to get the proposal back on the ballot in May.

With 100% of the precincts reporting, voters in the West Michigan towns of Saugatuck and Douglas voted not to combine their cities.

The vote was 58% opposed, 42% in favor.

Reports showed the towns could have saved around a half a million dollars in services by combining, but as Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reported, many in the area felt their towns would lose their identity if they merged.

Updated 1:30 a.m.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

It's Election Day, and federal election monitors are keeping an eye on voting in Detroit, Hamtramck and Flint. The Department of Justice wants to ensure those cities comply with the Voting Rights Act. 

Joining us to talk about the monitoring is Executive Assistant United States Attorney, Stephanie Dawkins Davis. 

"This is an effort to protect the integrity of the process. It isn’t that there has been any specific concern or that there has been any wrong doing in any of these jurisdictions. The U.S. government would like to protect the integrity of the process," Davis said.

State of Michigan

Specifically, the DOJ officials will be in Detroit and Hamtramck, MI; Orange County, NY; and Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties in Ohio.

In a press release, the DOJ says the monitors will ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act, "which prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group."

From the release:

In Cuyahoga, Lorain and Orange Counties, the Department will assign federal observers from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to monitor polling place activities based on court orders. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these jurisdictions and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities in Detroit and Hamtramck. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

The DOJ says federal observers are deployed every year around the country.

To file a complaint about discriminatory voting practices, the DOJ says to call the Voting Section of the department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

AARP

Some state lawmakers want to limit when local governments can hold property tax elections.

Right now, People in Michigan can find themselves voting on millages in February, May, August or November each year.  

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Local elections across Michigan are coming Tuesday. And, there are also some interesting races across the country. The results of which politicos and prognosticators will be mining for hints, tips, and adumbrations (yes, we really just did use the word “adumbrations”) of what Election 2014 may have in store.

Elections in 2013, like in 2014, will be in the off-presidential cycle, with similar dynamics in play. Here in Michigan, we’ll have big statewide races next year for governor and U.S. Senator, and two or three congressional races that could be hot.

So, for us, 2013 is a kind of scouting report, a chance to look for any developing trends. Similar to January 2010 when Republican Scott Brown’s Senate victory in super-blue Massachusetts was a preview of the November 2010 national GOP blow-out. Brown’s win was seen as an early indicator of the election to come.

This Tuesday we’ll be watching for anything that defies expectations.

Republican Chris Christie is expected to win reelection in New Jersey and Democrat Terry McAuliffe is expected to win in Virginia; a state that was once reliably conservative but has become purple as its demographics change.

We’ll be watching for both an upset and the margins of victory.

If it’s a blowout, Republican leaders in Michigan will use that as evidence to argue for a more centrist approach to campaigning in 2014: Be conservative, but appeal to the middle. That could make a difference not just in primaries next year, but also the Republican nominating convention - where Tea Partiers have been pretty dominant lately.

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office is investigating allegations that Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s re-election campaign may have violated state election law by funneling money to a city council candidate.

State law (Section 44 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act) forbids paying individuals money with the understanding that the money will be donated to a political campaign.   That’s what a complaint filed with the state claims the Bernero re-election campaign did back in June.

The state will take the extremely rare step of stepping in to certify the results of Detroit’s mayoral primary. That’s after a Wayne County elections board refused to count 18,000 write-in ballots because they were improperly marked by poll workers. Michigan’s Elections Director Chris Thomas says those ballots should be counted.

Update 6:27 a.m.

According to the Associated Press:

Former medical center chief Mike Duggan and county sheriff Benny Napoleon have received the most votes in Detroit's mayoral primary. 

The results are unofficial, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the November general election. 

Write-ins made up 52.5 percent of the vote, with 601 of 614 precints reporting late Tuesday. Duggan received 46 percent of the votes. Napoleon was second with 29.6 percent. 

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