Election 2014

Opinion
1:22 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Terri Lynn Land is running an odd campaign in “Wizard of Oz” style

Pretty much every major political campaign develops a certain weirdness of its own. Some more than others.

There was Howard Wolpe, who ran for governor of Michigan by talking a lot about South Africa. And now we have the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land. You might think that there was a modern-day state or national issue or two worth worrying about, like jobs or education or ISIS.

But forget all that. For the past couple days, the candidates have been squabbling over what in economic terms is ancient history. Specifically, the so-called bailout of the auto industry in 2008 and 2009, and whether Land would have supported it.

What makes this weirder is that one of the candidates is only arguing about it by proxy. Land doesn’t talk to reporters or interviewers and so far hasn’t consented to debate her rival.

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Politics & Government
10:57 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Water shutoffs, Detroit Public School’s emergency manager, and campaign trail updates

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss Detroit’s water shutoffs, Detroit Public School’s emergency manager and updates from the campaign trail.

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Politics & Government
10:33 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Ebola a question in 8th Congressional District debate

Ebola virus
Credit CDC

Congressional candidates in mid-Michigan appeared together in a debate Tuesday night. The 8th District candidates were asked about the usual topics, and one very unusual topic.

Ebola.

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States turned up in Texas.   

The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia in West Africa before he was diagnosed with the deadly virus. Officials say the unidentified patient is critically ill and has been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday.

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Politics & Government
10:22 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Gov. Snyder draws supporters and opponents to Kalamazoo town hall event

Not everyone in Kalamazoo was happy to see Gov. Rock Snyder. About two dozen protesters picketed outside Snyder's town hall event in Kalamazoo.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The race for Michigan governor is moving into its final weeks.

Gov. Rick Snyder held the first of 10 town hall events last night in Kalamazoo on the campus of Western Michigan University.

  

Snyder was greeted by a group that wants to make him a one-term governor.  Protester JoeAnne Peterson is a retired teacher who's angry with the governor for several reasons, including right-to-work laws and increasing taxes on Michigan pensioners.

“I do have a right to say you took. You didn’t ask,” Peterson said.

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Opinion
12:18 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Debbie Dingell may be more politically seasoned than you think

If you follow politics in this state, you probably know that John Dingell has served longer in Congress than anyone in American history.

You also probably know he is retiring at the end of this term, and that his wife Debbie is the Democratic nominee to succeed him. And given the realities of politics, it is absolutely as certain as anything can be that she will win.

Mrs. Dingell – she uses Mrs., by the way – would not want me to say that. Neither would her main opponent, Terry Bowman, a blue-collar Republican auto worker.

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Politics & Government
10:37 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Don't expect much from Michigan's lawmakers until "lame duck" session

Lame ducks?
Simone Walsh Flickr

This is the last week the state Legislature is scheduled to meet before the November election. Lawmakers probably won’t take up any controversial bills until their “lame duck” session in December.

Supporters of legislation to add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law are still optimistic lawmakers will pass it before the end of the year.

“I’m pretty heartened by the openness that [state House Speaker Jase Bolger] has shown to us in having those discussions,” said Shelli Weisberg with the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union .

“But it’s going to be tough.”

Weisberg admits it would be a setback if the bill has to wait until 2015.

“I think it does make it harder to go into a new legislative session because we’ve got new members and we have to really put forth a whole new, kind of fresh education effort,” she said.

Gov. Rick Snyder says his top legislative priority before the end of the year is boosting funding for roads and infrastructure.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he wants to relax term limits on state lawmakers.

Lawmakers could also approve bills to relax restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan during their lame duck session.

It's Just Politics
4:34 pm
Sat September 27, 2014

Why President Obama will come back to campaign in Michigan before November

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

The persuadable voter. Political independents. There are not as many of them as there used to be. And they don’t seem to be the center of this campaign season as they have been in previous years (remember the ‘Soccer Mom’ or ‘Security Mom’?).

This year’s campaigns seem much more focused on getting out base voters. And, that is why we present a bold prediction: President Barack Obama will come visit Michigan before Election Day.

Democrats have pinned their hopes this year on Democratic-voter turnout. Michigan is a decidedly blue state. Democrats have a five or six-point behavioral - that is how people vote, not what they call themselves - advantage in Michigan. That advantage is why Democrats have won the last six presidential elections in Michigan.

But, Michigan is not a decisively blue state because so many Democrats sit out during the mid-term elections. And, that gives Michigan Republicans their best changes in statewide races. It’s largely why we have a Republican governor, attorney general and secretary of state (many Democrats stayed home on Election Day four years ago).

But, there’s another part of the equation: Republicans can’s win on their own. Yes, Michigan Republicans typically have a turnout advantage in mid-term elections, but it doesn’t get them all the way to victory. To win, Republicans have to win at least a slim majority of the independents who turn out to vote.

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Politics & Government
8:35 am
Sat September 27, 2014

Latest election polls, Kevyn Orr's extended stay in Detroit, and another Aramark scandal

Kevyn Orr will stay on as Detroit's emergency manager, with some restrictions.
Credit user memories_by_mike / Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack 
Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss the latest polls for Michigan’s governor and U.S.Senate races, Detroit’s decision to keep emergency manager Kevyn Orr on board for now, and the latest scandal with Aramark, the state’s food services provider.

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Politics & Government
5:37 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Heavy campaign spending once again in Michigan Supreme Court races

“We’re at a point now where something like 90% of the public believe that campaign cash is effecting courtroom decisions,” says Bert Brandenburg of Justice at Stake.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a lot of money being spent to elect Michigan’s Supreme Court justices.

The eight candidates running for three open slots on the Michigan Supreme Court have spent nearly $700,000 on TV ad buys as of this week.  

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Politics & Government
4:00 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Demand for absentee ballots increases in Michigan; registration deadline nears

Thousands of absentee ballots should start arriving in the mailboxes of Lansing voters Saturday and Monday.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s still more than a month before the November general election, but many Michigan voters are already getting their hands on the ballot.

Today, the Lansing City Clerk’s office mailed out 5,000 absentee ballots. The office sent electronic ballots to U.S. servicemen and women, and other overseas voters last week.

Clerk Chris Swope says demand for absentee ballots is bigger than normal, which he partially credits with the close race for governor.

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Stateside
9:45 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Forecasting the 2014 lame-duck agenda

Credit Michigan Municipal League

Six weeks from today, we'll be going through November's election results. Michigan will have a new U.S. Senator and voters will have either given Gov. Rick Snyder another term or elected Democrat Mark Schauer to take over the job.

Six weeks from today will also mean the beginning of the state's lame duck legislative session. Lame duck – the period of time time after the November election but before a new year, begins with many new lawmakers. 

The last lame duck session of the Michigan Legislature brought the passage of Right to Work. What are we going to see this year?

Rick Pluta is bureau chief of the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of Michigan Radio's "It's Just Politics." He says there are suspicions that something will come out of the blue. 

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Stateside
1:04 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Republican state Senate leader pushing to change term limits

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.
Credit Photo courtesy of Richardville's office

There's been talk in Lansing about whether term limits should be extended, and that talk is heating up. 

Michigan voters approved term limits for state lawmakers back in 1992, but Republican Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville thinks maybe it's time they are extended.

Richardville says Michigan has the most restrictive term limits in the country. Other states have either rescinded or eased term limits and, he believes Michigan should review the legislation as well.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio's political analyst, and he says term limits have been an unmitigated disaster. 

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This Week in Michigan Politics
11:33 am
Wed September 24, 2014

High water rates, Cadillac moving its headquarters, and the debates

Water faucet.
Credit jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry sat down to discuss what's going on this week in Michigan politics. They covered the high price of water in Flint and Detroit, GM’s decision to move its Cadillac headquarters to New York, and the debates for Michigan governor and the U.S. Senate race.


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Opinion
11:17 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Who is Mark Schauer, really?

We can say two things about the race for governor today: Mark Schauer and Rick Snyder are essentially tied in the polls. And it looks like we may not have a single televised debate.

The last time that happened was 16 years ago, when John Engler refused to debate Geoffrey Fieger. There was a certain logic to that.

Fieger was going around saying that the governor was a “corn-fed bowser,” and declared he would not accept that Engler was the father of his triplets unless they had corkscrew tails.

That was not a normal campaign. But this one is, and the voters have a lot at stake. This time, the challenger wants debates and the incumbent doesn’t.

Conventional wisdom says that’s because the governor doesn’t want to make it seem like his opponent is his equal, or because it is always harder to defend a record than attack one.

That may be. But it is also possible that Republicans are wasting a golden opportunity to put the challenger on the defensive. Here’s why.

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It's Just Politics
2:25 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Former Governor Milliken endorses two Democrats, but does it matter?

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

This week, former Governor Bill Milliken knocked us off the edges of our seats when he started making candidate endorsements (Ok, maybe we weren’t at the edge of our seats).

But Michigan’s political watchers are always interested in who the state’s famously iconoclastic and moderate Republican Governor will endorse.

In 2004, Milliken endorsed Democrat John Kerry for President. In 2008, it was Republican John McCain. Although he withdrew it just a few weeks before the election.

Four years ago, Rick Snyder, in an effort to burnish his centrist bona fides, sought and received the imprimatur of Milliken.

And, now, this election-cycle, Milliken has endorsed Democrat Gary Peters for U.S. Senate and Democrat Mark Totten for Attorney General.

One has to wonder how the Republican base is going to view the fact that the current governor is the only Republican (at least so far in this election cycle) to get the Milliken endorsement.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak doesn’t seem to mind. “He’s not relevant any longer,” Schostak recently told WJBK TV.

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Weekly Politcal Roundup
5:00 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Are political ads working or are Michigan voters tuning out?

Television remote control
Credit user ppdigital / morguefile

Thursday is the day 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.

This week is all about the political ads inundating the state. We talked about how ads are used to make the case for a candidate, the flood of ads on television, and whether voters are paying attention or tuning out.

Here's our conversation:

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Stateside
7:42 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

A debate in the U.S. Senate race more likely?

Terri Lynn Land
Credit Michigan Republican Party / Facebook

With 48 days to go until the Nov. 4 election, many people are wondering if Michigan voters would ever get a chance to hear a debate between the candidates for U.S. Senate and for governor.

Republican Terri Lynn Land took the first step today toward holding a debate with Democratic rival Gary Peters.

Land's campaign just named Lansing attorney Richard McLellan as its debate negotiator. Land says McLellan will work with Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV and Peters' campaign to possibly find a West Michigan journalist to co-moderate a debate with WXYZ Editorial Director Chuck Stokes.

Peters named former Lt. Gov. John Cherry as his debate negotiator Aug. 6. Peters has accepted three debate invitations outright and two others on the condition that Land also agrees.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta are co-hosts of Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics. In their views, Michigan voters are clearly looking for the candidates' debates. 

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Opinion
12:16 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Governor Snyder is fighting a losing game in Aramark scandal

Some years ago, I was studying some primitive TV campaign ads. One of them featured candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower being asked by a housewife, "Well, the Democrats have made mistakes, but weren't their intentions good?"

Squinting at cue cards, the nearsighted Ike replied woodenly, "Well, if you have a school bus driver who goes off the road, hits a pole and lands in a ditch you don't say his intentions are good. You get a new bus driver." 

Last night I thought it might be a good idea to send that ad to Governor Rick Snyder, with a note: Think about Aramark.

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Opinion
11:06 am
Mon September 15, 2014

New polls suggest we may have the closest governor’s race in 30 years

Six months ago, I was convinced Rick Snyder would be reelected in November -- not by the 18 point landslide he scored four years ago, but by a fairly comfortable margin.

Yes, I knew there was lingering anger over the pension tax and right to work, maybe other issues, but I figured that Snyder’s Republicans would have so much money they’d overwhelm Mark Schauer, his Democratic opponent, with broadcast commercials, the “air war” of modern politics.

Then too, Republicans have a built-in advantage over Democrats in midterm elections. Turnout is always smaller, and Republicans are better about showing up.

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Politics & Government
11:43 am
Sun September 14, 2014

Analysis: Gov. Snyder tweaks `comeback' message

Gov. Snyder says the recovery and comeback themes are both accurate. He notes he's always said more work must done and it's not time to be content.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder has been fond of calling Michigan the "comeback state" for at least 2 1/2 years. So he naturally made it a part of his re-election campaign early on.

But as the Republican governor's campaign ramps up in the final two months of the race, he's tweaking his message. Now Michigan's on the "road to recovery."

Pollsters say the fine-tuning reflected in new TV ads is an attempt to align with voters who are more positive about the state's direction but also say the recovery hasn't helped them personally.

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