Mark Schauer

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The only scheduled joint appearance between Governor Rick Snyder and former Congressman Mark Schauer wrapped up last night. One of the top issues of the debate was education. If you turn on a television, there's no escaping the "dueling teacher" campaign ads for Snyder and Schauer.

Schauer's ads feature teachers saying Governor Snyder slashed $1 billion from school funding. Snyder's ads feature teachers who say Snyder's been great for schools, that he's increased K-12 state funding every year he's been in office.

John Bebow is president of the non-partisan Center for Michigan. Bebow says let's stop talking about the past and, instead, look ahead to the future of education spending.

Jose Juarez / AP; timesunion

Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer met yesterday evening in their only debate. The two were asked about the economy, taxes and education funding.

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark are co-hosts of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics.

Virtually everyone in Michigan politics, including those who write about it, is analyzing last night’s debate between Governor Rick Snyder and his Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer. 

Both sides put their own spin on this debate even before it was over. I’ve seen a lot of debates in my time, live or recorded, including every presidential debate in the modern era.

I have some thoughts on this one.

But I wanted to start with an observation that you might think comes out of left field. Shortly after the debate, I was copied on an e-mail letter a fellow named Kenneth Hreha sent to an anchorman at one of Detroit’s TV networks.

I was struck by these lines:

Hreha said, “The incumbent Rick Snyder didn’t even have the common courtesy to come professionally dressed in a suit and tie, a true reflection of the laziness of this man and the public policies that hurt working people.”

Now, Hreha is scarcely neutral. He voted for Snyder four years ago, but since has come to hate him.

He was laid off from a job working for the state, and the only job he’s been able to find since pays less and has no benefits.

But aside from that, do citizens want a governor who looks like them or one who shows up dressed like an authority figure? Originally, I thought Snyder’s casual style a big plus in today’s world.

Now, I’m not so sure. I know that after Mark Schauer did one commercial casually dressed, one of the elder statesmen of the Democratic Party yelled at him, saying he needed to wear a dark suit and look like the citizens expect a man in charge to look.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder (left), and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer (right).
Gov. Snyder's office, and Schauer campaign.

Watch the only debate in the 2014 Michigan governor's race below.

The one-hour, town-hall-style debate took place between Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and his Democratic challenger Mark Schauer last night at 6 p.m.

The forum included an audience of undecided voters asking questions to both candidates and was televised from Wayne State University.

You can watch it below. (If you're having trouble seeing the video below, try this link.)

Or you can listen to the audio here:

Politicians like to take credit for improving the economy, and challengers like to blame sitting officials for damaging it. In the race for governor in Michigan there have been plenty of both those kinds of accusations. Lester Graham with Michigan Watch examines how much politicians can really affect the economy.

Outside a Michigan WORKS! employment office, I asked a few unemployed people if they thought any state politician could make a difference in creating jobs.

Davina Carey has been out of work since June. “Hopefully," she said, laughing. "I mean, I don’t know.”

 We’ve been talking for months now on It’s Just Politics about the fact that Election 2014 is really going to be about which party does a better job of getting out its core voters, especially whether Democrats can get their voters to the polls on November 4th.

Though there are more Democrats in Michigan, Republicans do a better job of turning out in mid-term elections, when a President is not at the top of the ballot.

That’s why, although Michigan is a blue-state, we have a Republican Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General (all positions that are elected in non-presidential years, when Democrats tend to stay home).

That explains why we’re seeing a competitive race for governor, although some recent polls show Republican Governor Rick Snyder opening a wider lead (some polls, not all).

Meantime, almost every poll shows Democrat Gary Peters opening a wider lead over Republican nominee Terri Lynn Land for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat.

First Lady Michelle Obama headlined a campaign event for Michigan Democrats in Detroit Friday.

The First Lady got a warm, energetic reception from the crowd at the Detroit Music Hall.

She encouraged them to sustain that energy right through election day.

Mrs. Obama praised the Democrats running at the top of the ticket: Mark Schauer for Governor, and Gary Peters for US Senate.  

She told the crowd that Democrats fare better when voter turnout is high—and it’s especially important in Detroit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Sunday evening, Republican Governor Rick Snyder and his Democratic challenger Mark Schauer will square off in their only scheduled debate before November’s election.

The town hall-style debate will be televised from Wayne State University, and you can hear it live on Michigan Radio at 6:00 pm.

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer (D) and Secretary of State candidate Godfrey Dillard (D) will answer questions from the MLive editorial board during tonight's live Ballot Bash event in Lansing.

Godfrey Dillard is scheduled to appear from 6:45 - 7:15 pm. Mark Schauer is scheduled from 7:30 - 8:00 pm.

You can watch the event below:

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer (D) and Secretary of State candidate Godfrey Dillard (D) will answer questions from the MLive editorial board during tonight's live Ballot Bash event in Lansing. Godfrey Dillard is scheduled to appear from 6:45 - 7:15 pm. Mark Schauer is scheduled from 7:30 - 8:00 pm. You can watch the event below:

Live streaming video by Ustream The final Ballot Bash event will be Tuesday, Oct. 14 in Royal Oak featuring U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters (D) and Attorney General candidate Mark Totten (D).

The final Ballot Bash event will be Tuesday, Oct. 14 in Royal Oak featuring U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters (D) and Attorney General candidate Mark Totten (D). 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Time is running out before Election Day, and some groups think their money would be better spent elsewhere.

The Associated Press reports Republican groups are pulling ad buys supporting U.S. Senate Candidate Terri Lynn Land.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled nearly $1 million in ads for the weeks of Oct. 21 and Oct. 28, according to a political operative who tracks ad spending. Democrat Gary Peters leads Republican Terri Lynn Land in Michigan.

How accurate are current polls that show Snyder and Schauer neck and neck?
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How do we fix Michigan's financially ailing cities and school districts?

The answer to that question is one of the core issues in the race for governor.

Detroit News Lansing Bureau reporter Chad Livengood wrote this piece in today's News that sorts out the different "prescriptions" that Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer offer to cities and school districts.

Livengood says Rick Snyder sees himself as the "fix it" guy, and Snyder thinks emergency managers have played an effective role in helping ailing cities and schools.

Livengood says Mark Schauer wants to abolish the current emergency manager law and send in "financial transition teams" to help communities and school districts instead.

* Listen to the interview with Chad Livengood above.

 

White House

First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Michigan on Friday.

She'll be campaigning for Democratic candidates.

The White House says the First Lady will appear at a campaign event in Detroit on Friday.  She’ll be sharing the stage with U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters and gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO – Gov. Rick Snyder is more forcefully countering what he calls "the big lie" in his re-election bid – charges that he cut $1 billion in education funding in 2011.

His opponent, Democrat Mark Schauer, isn't shying away from the claim.

 “I would like to clear-up the biggest piece of hogwash on TV today.”

That quote was from Governor Rick Snyder at his first campaign town hall this week, pushing back on claims that his administration cut one billion dollars from the state’s education budget.

“They’re lying to you,” the governor told the town-hall audience on Tuesday evening in Kalamazoo.

And, it’s not just the governor, GOP officials and lawmakers have also released statement after statement calling the billion dollar cut a lie, as well as demanding TV stations pull the ad from rotation.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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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