Election 2014

Politics & Government
5:16 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

GOP, Dems to hold state party conventions this weekend

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley
Credit Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

Republicans and Democrats in Michigan will gather this weekend at party conventions to nominate candidates for statewide offices.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette are expected to be nominated for second terms at the state Republican convention in Novi.      

But it looks like there will be a fight over lieutenant governor. Gov. Rick Snyder wants the convention to renominate Brian Calley. But Tea Party activist Wes Nakagiri wants to deny Snyder his choice.

State GOP chairman Bobby Schostak says Calley appears to have the edge going into Saturday’s convention.

“I think that overall Brian Calley has been working very hard across the state to get the message across that he deserves to continue to be the lieutenant governor, and it’s going to be very hard to beat him,” says Schostak.

Democrats are meeting in Lansing this weekend. Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown is Mark Schauer’s choice for a running mate. Democrats are also expected to nominate Mark Totten for attorney general, and Godfrey Dillard for secretary of state.

The parties will also nominate candidates for the state Supreme Court and education boards. 

Politics & Government
4:28 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Peters asks Obama for answers on Iraq, defends health care law on "Michigan Calling"

Rick Pluta sat down with U.S. Senate Candidates Gary Peters

In a wide-ranging interview on Friday, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Peters said he does not support sending ground troops to Iraq.

The militant group calling itself the Islamic State has taken control of large sections of Iraq. But the Michigan congressman says he’s not interested in sending troops back into the country to fight the group.

“At this point, I see no reason to be back in Iraq with boots on the ground,” Peters told host Rick Pluta on the Michigan Public Radio statewide call-in program Michigan Calling.

“And even with airstrikes, you need to have a longer-term plan to go forward, and I’d like to get a better sense of what that is.”

Peters then urged the Obama administration to brief Congress on the situation in Iraq. He says members have not been kept up to speed with what’s happening on the ground.

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Opinion
11:37 am
Fri August 22, 2014

What you can and cannot do in selecting your representatives

We know the most important job in state government is that of governor, but the next two top jobs are far more important than we tend to realize.

Michigan’s attorney general is the top lawyer for the entire state, both for state government and the interests of all the citizens.

Meanwhile, whoever is secretary of state is responsible for pretty much everything that has to do with voting and elections – not to mention driver's licenses, automobile and other registrations, and regulating notaries in the state.

We elect these officials by a statewide vote in November. They serve four-year terms, and can be re-elected only once.

But here’s the odd thing about these jobs. We the voters have the final say in November, but have virtually no say in who the major political parties choose as their candidates.

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Politics & Government
11:04 am
Fri August 22, 2014

ICYMI - Listen to our "Michigan Calling" program with Gary Peters

8/22/14 Rick Pluta’s sat down with U.S. Senate Candidates Gary Peters

The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta sat down with the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Peters this morning, to take questions from our statewide audience.

Peters is currently the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 14th congressional district. He's served in Congress since 2009. The district includes the eastern half of Detroit, as well as the Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Southfield and Pontiac. As senator, Peters would represent the entire state.

Peter's Republican opponent in the race for U.S. Senator is Terri Lynn Land. She served as Michigan’s 41st secretary of state. Rick Pluta will interview Land on Friday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Stateside
5:34 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

What to look for at Michigan's nominating conventions this weekend

Credit User: Andrew Ferguson / Flickr

It's a big weekend for Michigan's Democrats and Republicans: Both parties hold their state conventions – the Democrats in Lansing, the Republicans in Novi.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, the co-hosts of Michigan Radio’s It's Just Politics, gave us a preview of the conventions.

For this weekend, Clark says she’ll be watching for a Tea Party effort to pry Brian Calley out as lieutenant governor.

"Tea Partiers and very conservative Republicans, looking at the Snyder Administration and saying, 'you know what? You may say you're conservative, but you are not conservative enough,'" says Clark.

As for the Democratic convention, there’s not quite as much drama expected in Lansing. However, Clark notes that it’ll be interesting to look at the Democratic nominees' races for attorney general and secretary of state.

* Listen to the interview with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta above.

* Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning at 9 when Rick Pluta will host a special call-in show with Gary Peters, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. 

 

Stateside
4:43 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Will we see candidate debates this fall?

Credit CALI - Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction / Flickr

We're about two and a half months away from the November general election and two big statewide races – the race for Governor and U.S. Senate.

We're seeing plenty of advertisements in the campaigns, but no debates between the candidates.

Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s political commentator, said the reason for this is that front runners of the elections don’t want to give their opponents a shot to upstage them.

Lessenberry said Governor Snyder doesn’t want a debate for this very reason, as it would give his opponent, Democrat Mark Schauer, a chance to win the public over.

However the same is not said for the Senate candidates. Republican Terri Lynn Land is falling behind Democrat Gary Peters in polls. Normally Land would want the debate and Peters would not, but in this case, it's the opposite.

Lessenberry said he expects at least one debate in the governor's race, but it is unclear whether there will be one for the Senate race.

*Listen to the full interview with Jack Lessenberry above. 

Opinion
10:15 am
Wed August 20, 2014

It's OK to support a candidate even if you don't agree with their every position

Both major political parties have their state conventions this week. Republicans are meeting in Novi; Democrats in Lansing.

There’s always an element of the high school reunion about these conventions; people, including the press, look forward to them in part because they get to see old friends.

However, there are also squabbles.

Most of this year’s focus has been on the Republican gathering, where Tea Party insurgents are attempting to throw Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley off the ticket.

Democrats, however, have their own struggle behind the scenes.

In case you are new to this, these conventions actually nominate most of each party’s candidates for statewide office.

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Politics & Government
11:00 am
Sun August 17, 2014

Debates in Michigan governor, US Senate races in doubt

In 2010, Snyder and Democrat Virg Bernero had just one debate in the governor's race. Two years later, incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow and GOP challenger Pete Hoekstra couldn't agree on even one debate.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING – Michigan voters have viewed at least $20 million worth of political ads in competitive gubernatorial and U.S. Senate campaigns.

But whether they will see Gov. Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer, or Terri Lynn Land and Gary Peters, in one-on-one debates this fall is in question.

Debates appear to have lost cachet in Michigan's statewide races.

In 2010, Snyder and Democrat Virg Bernero had just one debate in the governor's race. Two years later, incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow and GOP challenger Pete Hoekstra couldn't agree on even one debate.

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It's Just Politics
2:13 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Everything is political, even natural disasters

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

 Natural disasters, like the rain and floods that pounded metro Detroit this week, present a unique challenge for chief executives like Governor Rick Snyder. Natural disasters are certainly not like the slow work of trying to mend an economy, for example.

With natural disasters, all of an administration’s emergency planning is stress tested in real-time with real-life consequences. Years ago, Governor John Engler said a big natural disaster is any governor’s worst nightmare.

And, like most things with government, there are political consequences to natural disasters. How, for example, the public measures the way a chief executive handles the situation.

Here in Michigan, with the November election just two and a half months away, this was an important week for Governor Snyder. Which is why, when the magnitude of what was happening in metro Detroit became clear, the governor cut short a trip to the Upper Peninsula - a trip that included a fundraising event in Marquette - and returned downstate to reassure people that he was aware and in charge.

His administration certainly did not want a repeat of last winter, when Snyder was excoriated for not, at first, being visible during a powerful ice storm that knocked out electricity to big swaths of the state. We should note as well, however, that the governor’s Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer, was also not particularly visible during that ice storm.

So, this week, Governor Snyder flew south by helicopter, surveyed the damage and talked to the media. It was this latter part of his trip - speaking on WJR’s The Frank Beckman Show - that the Governor tried for a little empathy. “I’ve been through a lot of things like that… We just recently had holes in our roof from storm damage to our lake house, in terms of, yeah, we have a vacation place, and I had a limb come down from holes in the roof, had water running through the place. Those experiences are not pleasant ones, and we had to take some trees down,” the Governor said, trying to go for the common touch, the ‘I feel your pain’ explanation.

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Politics & Government
10:25 am
Mon August 11, 2014

The Snyder scandals

 

Nobody can say Governor Rick Snyder vacillated, when it was learned last week that Scott Woosley, his appointed head of the Michigan State Housing Authority, had been racking up expense account charges fit for a European monarch.

Well, figuratively speaking, that is. I can’t imagine even the last king of Albania paying twelve hundred dollars to have a stretch limo take him across Nebraska. And state officials did deny payment for a “dinner” that consisted only of three glasses of expensive rum.

Enterprising Democratic Party activists used the Freedom of Information Act to ferret out this information. But within 24 hours after it hit the papers, Scott Woosley was unemployed.

The governor didn’t move nearly so quickly when it came to the Aramark Correctional Services abuses. For weeks, there have been stories about maggots on the chow line and scores of Aramark employees fired or suspended for inappropriate behavior. 

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Politics & Government
3:48 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Truth Squad rules a "flagrant foul" on outside ad in race for governor

'Foul' called by the Truth Squad on the Democratic Governors Association ad.

Several political campaigns during the primaries got very nasty. Things haven’t been quite so nasty in the governor’s race … yet.

Most of the ads we’ve seen about Gov. Rick Snyder and challenger Mark Schauer have not been ads the candidates bought. Outside groups produced them and aired them.

The Democratic Governors Association paid for an ad attacking Republican Gov. Snyder.

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It's Just Politics
2:18 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Gay rights continue to be an issue in Michigan's GOP races

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

 Here we are, trying to shake some more truth out of Tuesday’s primary results. And there is still at least one lingering result that has people continuing to wonder what exactly happened and why. And that would be Republican Representative Frank Foster’s primary loss to Tea Party challenger Lee Chatfield.

It’s not that people didn’t think a Tea Party win was possible. In fact, the Tea Party took aim at quite a few GOP incumbents over their votes for the Medicaid expansion and the Common Core education standards.

But every single other incumbent state lawmaker survived.

In Foster’s case, though, there were a couple of distinctions. Foster was identified by a political newsletter as one of Lansing’s most lobbyist-wined and dined. It’s never good when an incumbent is targeted as having “gone native” in Lansing or D.C.

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Opinion
10:09 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Why Voting Matters

Whatever your politics, there is both good news in yesterday’s election results, as well as some lessons to be learned. First of all, the good news: It had been widely predicted that turnout yesterday would be an all-time low. Some analysts felt that fewer than a million people might vote, which would have been the lowest in modern history.

Fewer absentee ballots than expected had been taken out, there were no contests for governor or senator, and on top of that, it rained in much of Metro Detroit.

Yet, in the end, more than 1.3 million people voted. That’s less than one-fifth of those eligible. But it could have been worse. Something else perhaps encouraging is that those who spent the most money didn’t always win.

Paul Mitchell, a rich businessman from Saginaw County, spent millions in an effort to win the Republican nomination to Congress. He lost to veteran legislator John Moolenaar in a landslide. In a similar election in Grand Rapids, another millionaire, Brian Ellis, tried to defeat maverick GOP congressman, Justin Amash. Ellis lost badly too.

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Politics & Government
12:56 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Moolenaar wins 4th congressional district Republican primary

State Senator John Moolenaar emerged from a sometimes brutal three way primary to win the Republican primary in Michigan’s 4th congressional district.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State Senator John Moolenaar  emerged from a sometimes brutal three way primary to win the Republican primary in Michigan’s 4th congressional district.

Moolenaar says voters responded to his efforts to reduce state spending and make Michigan more attractive to business. 

"It’s kind of a good prescription for Washington D-C.," Moolenaar said after winning the Republican nomination on Tuesday, "People really responded to that message.”

Moolenaar says he’s  looking forward to the fall campaign.

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Politics & Government
12:40 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Conyers poised to win 26th term, take over as "Dean of the House"

John Conyers

Detroit Congressman John Conyers is poised to return to Washington as “Dean of the House.”

Conyers will run for a 26th term in Congress after cruising to victory in the 13th district Democratic primary last night.

Conyers was first elected to Congress in 1964. Now that fellow Michigan Congressman John Dingell is retiring, the civil rights icon is set to become the longest-serving member of the House.

Conyers would be the first African American to serve that role--something he calls a “crowning achievement.”

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Politics & Government
10:53 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Amash wins GOP primary in 3rd District

Justin Amash wins his Republican primary race.
Credit US Congress

Republican Congressman Justin Amash has beaten challenger Brian Ellis in the 3rd District primary in western Michigan.

The libertarian-leaning Amash was targeted by business groups as being too far outside the mainstream of his party. But Amash survived the challenge and is likely headed toward a third two-year term in the Republican-leaning seat that includes parts of five counties and the cities of Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.

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Politics & Government
10:48 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

A good night to be an incumbent in the Michigan Legislature

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters have been choosing incumbents in statewide primary elections, including Republicans in the GOP-led House who withstood strong challenges from conservatives tied to the tea party.

Incumbents who held their seats Tuesday night include Republicans Bradford Jacobsen, Klint Kesto and Mike Kowall. Democratic state Sen. Vincent Gregory held off a challenge from two term-limited state House members, who joined the race after he launched a brief run for Congress.

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Politics & Government
10:19 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Michigan voters approve Prop 1

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters have approved a ballot measure to end a state tax on manufacturing and small business equipment.

Proposal 1 will reimburse local governments for their lost personal property tax revenue by sharing a portion of the state's use tax.

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Politics & Government
10:14 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Debbie Dingell one step closer to possibly taking husband's Congressional seat

Debbie Dingell
Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The wife of longtime Democratic Congressman John Dingell has won the Democratic primary for the 12th Congressional District.

Debbie Dingell has defeated attorney Raymond Mullins Tuesday and heads into the November general election seeking the seat her husband has held for more than 58 years.

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Politics & Government
10:08 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Conyers wins Democratic primary, has been in Congress since 1965

Conyers could become the nation's longest serving Congressman
Credit Photography Courtesy of www.conyers.house.gov

Democrat John Conyers is a step closer to his 26th term in Congress.

Conyers defeated Detroit pastor the Rev. Horace Sheffield III in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

The 85-year-old Conyers has been in Congress since 1965 and is in line to be the longest serving member of the House with the retirement this year of fellow Michigan Representative John Dingell.

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