Politics & Government

Stateside
11:54 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Gas prices, elections, and seasonal coincidence

Conspiracy of rats
Credit Jorge Gonzalez / Flickr

We thought about having a week dedicated to debunking conspiracy theories, but we're not Snopes nor are we The Onion.

But one theory that we just couldn't let go of, that continues to circulate, lent itself to some easy debunking.

The myth? That Americans see a fall in gas prices at election time.

It's easy to assume that there's some big conspiracy theory to make gas prices decline right before we go to the polls.

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Politics & Government
6:11 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Candidates making final push before election next week

Democratic nominee for governor Mark Schauer greets auto workers in Lansing on Thursday to kick off a statewide campaign tour ahead of next Tuesday’s election.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Candidates have just a few more days to convince people to show up to the polls next week and vote for them. That means campaigns are beginning their final push.

Democratic nominee for governor Mark Schauer is embarking on a statewide campaign tour. He kicked it off by greeting auto workers in Lansing as they got off their shift.  

Schauer says he is confident in his chances, especially after recent reports show strong numbers in his favor with absentee voters who have already cast their ballots.

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Weekly Political Roundup
5:30 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

What politicos are watching as we count down to Election Day

Polling place
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

We're just a few days away from the Nov. 4 midterm election. Republicans and Democrats are using these last days to push their messages out to voters.

I spoke with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, about what they'll be watching in these final days.

Here's our conversation:

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Election 2014
2:21 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

In one word, how are you feeling about next week's election?

2012 election results as depticted by a cartogram - a map adjusted for population size.
Mark Newman Dept. of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan

Next week, we'll chart another course for our democracy by heading to the voting booth.

By this time next week, we'll know which party will rule the day in Congress and in our state Legislature. We'll also know who Michigan's next governor will be.

So how are you feeling about this big day?

I'm sure we could all take a lot of time to articulate exactly how we're feeling about next Tuesday, but can we find one word that captures it?

That's the challenge we're putting to you here:

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Politics & Government
7:26 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Wild card candidate, negativity define race for 11th Congressional District

This attack ad against Trott has been called "brutal."
Credit macombpolitics.blogspot

An ad run by Democrat Bobby Mckenzie in Michigan's 11th Congressional District race won a dubious distinction recently.  The Washington Post called it "one of the most brutal attack ads you'll ever see."

"Foreclosure King David Trott has made millions foreclosing on Michigan's families," says a narrator, over a slightly ominous soundtrack.  "Trott profited from human misery as tens of thousands of Michiganders were evicted from their homes."

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Stateside
7:18 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Pro-marijuana proposals on the ballot in 11 Michigan cities

Credit USFWS

On Nov. 4, voters in 11 Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to ever consider the question in a single election in the state. As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, marijuana advocates think they can win all of them.

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Stateside
6:58 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Dems hope Obama's Michigan visit will encourage better voter turnout

Credit YouTube

President Obama will be in Michigan Saturday to campaign for Democratic candidates Mark Schauer and Gary Peters. 

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

MI GOP looks to energize conservatives ahead of election with Rand Paul visit

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks in front of GOP supporters and volunteers on Wednesday in Livonia.

The Michigan Republican Party is trying to energize its conservative base ahead of next week’s election. On Wednesday, Republicans brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to speak with GOP supporters and volunteers in and around Detroit.

During a rally in Livonia, Paul reiterated his belief that conservative principles would turn the city around.

“You want to help Detroit? You want Detroit to grow and be a great and proud city again like it once was? Leave more money in Detroit. It’s as simple as that. Don’t send it to Washington,” he said.

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Politics & Government
2:28 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Grand Rapids voters to decide on term limits for mayor, city commission

Grand Rapids City Hall
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Voters in Michigan’s second-largest city will decide whether to establish term limits for the mayor and city commission next Tuesday.

The proposed change to the city’s charter would limit commissioners and mayors to eight years in office. Commissioners would be able to serve for eight years if elected mayor.

Opponents of term limits say there’s no need for them because voters can kick people out of office by not re-electing them.

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Politics & Government
2:24 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Shake-ups in the Legislature, contentious races and who'll have the final say on wolf hunting

A wolf rests in the snow. Next week, voters will weigh-in on whether Michigan wolf hunting laws should stay in place. The outcome could be blocked by a law the legislature approved last summer.
Credit USFWS Midwest

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss what could happen to the state Legislature after the election, possible surprises in congressional races and the wolf hunting proposal votes which may not matter.


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Politics & Government
11:38 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Detroit acquires 77 Detroit Public Schools properties as part of blight fight

Detroit will acquire 77 vacant Detroit Public Schools properties, securing them, demolishing some, and maintaining the rest
Credit screen grab from HDNet clip

The city of Detroit plans to acquire 77 vacant properties from Detroit Public Schools.

In return, the city will forgive the district's $11,600,000 in debt.  From the city's press release:

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The 2014 Wayne County tax auction is over, but key details slow to emerge

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The final round of the annual Wayne County property tax foreclosure auction closed on Tuesday.

This year, about 24,000 properties—the vast majority located in Detroit--were up for auction over two rounds.

The auction has become a real estate mega-event in recent years, as the number of tax-foreclosed properties has soared, and bidding moved online.

More than 7000 of the properties up for auction this year were believed to be occupied.

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Stateside
7:12 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • It's been nearly a year since the Republican Party opened an outreach office in Detroit. Is the office paid off yet?
  • We spoke with the South African author of "Broken Monsters," a suspense and horror story set in Detroit.
  • A Republican Congressman who lost the August primary decided to mount a write-in campaign, even though it could drain off enough votes to send the Democratic candidate to Washington.
  • For some Michiganders, aside from Halloween, there's another holiday on the horizon: Dia de los Muertos.
  • Stateside’s Renee Gross brought us a story about the minorities in Michigan’s restaurant industry and the glass ceiling they may be facing.

* Listen to the full show above.

Stateside
7:04 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Political battle gets heated in Michigan's 11th Congressional District

Credit Kerry Bentivolio / bentivolioforcongress.com

 

There's a political battle brewing in Michigan's 11th Congressional District.

Put simply: A Republican Congressman who was thumped in the primary decided to mount a write-in campaign, even though it could drain off enough votes to send the Democratic candidate to Washington.

Republican Kerry Bentivolio, sometimes known as "the accidental congressman," was the only Michigan congressman to lose his primary in August. That means new faces are running for the 11th District seat: Republican Dave Trott, who beat Bentivolio in the primary, and Democrat Bobby McKenzie. 

 

Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler has been following the race. He says while McKenzie is a relative newcomer, Trott has deep ties to local political circles and strong backing by the mainstream Republican party. 

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Stateside
12:57 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

GOP opened outpost in Detroit to woo African-Americans. Has it paid off?

How is the Republican Party faring in its quest for votes in Detroit?

It was last December when the GOP brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to christen its new voter engagement office in Detroit.

Bridge Magazine writer Nancy Derringer recently visited the office to check in on things. Derringer says selling the Republican Party in Detroit, a city with enormous African-American majorities, is a more daunting task than you might think. And even the party itself says it's a long-term effort.

Detroit-based freelance writer Aaron Foley says the African-American community tends to get turned off easily by even the word "Republican."

"A lot of people still vote Democrat even though where they worship and where a lot of their faith is more of a Republican thing," says Foley.

Derringer says the GOP's message to Detroit voters is to emphasize the similarities they share with them. 

"You have to admit that we have a lot in common. You are for faith and families, we are for faith and families; you want good schools, we want good schools; you want to feel safe in homes, that's what we are all about," says Derringer.

* Listen to our conversation with Aaron Foley and Nancy Derringer above.

Politics & Government
11:00 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Sen. Levin: U.S. had no choice but to get involved with terror threat in Syria, Iraq

Credit Official portrait

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin says the United States had no real choice but to get involved in the battle against the Islamic State, or ISIS.

“You can’t sit still and do nothing when you have a group like ISIS whose goal is basically total terror,” Levin said during a visit to Grand Rapids this week.

Levin says the Islamic State threatens to terrorize countries neighboring Iraq and Syria and even the U.S., if left unchecked.

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Politics & Government
9:41 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Newspaper endorsement a ritual of the political season with the occasional surprise

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

One of the rituals of the political campaign season is the newspaper endorsement. This past weekend, the liberal-leaning editorial page of The Detroit Free Press – also the state’s largest newspaper – caused some head-scratching and tongue-wagging with its endorsement in the governor’s race.

The Free Press editorial page had pretty much stuck with the Democratic ticket in this election cycle. That is until this past Sunday, when it endorsed Republican Governor Rick Snyder for reelection.

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Stateside
5:54 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

The importance of seniors this election

Credit Alliance for Retired Americans / Flickr

Seniors could play an important role in the upcoming election, as Michiganders age 50 and older are expected to represent well over half of the voters who show up to the polls next week. That’s pretty typical of a non-presidential election. But as Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, seniors and retirees are playing an especially important role in this year’s election.

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Stateside
5:42 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Tracking spending in the governor's race

Governor Rick Snyder
Credit Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Election Day is one week from tomorrow.

Radio and television sales executives are going to be sorry to see the campaign ads come to an end, because Michigan campaign ad spending is among the highest in the nation.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network projects spending for the governor's race will top $30 million, with much of that money coming from outside Michigan. MLive's Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting has been doing his best to follow the money trail.

In a general breakdown of where outside spending is coming from, Oosting says that for Snyder, it’s coming from big business figures including David Koch and the founder of 5 Hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava. For Mark Schauer, it’s coming from the UAW and other labor groups. Oosting notes it’s difficult to see exactly how much money is being spent and by whom. Part of the reason is issue ads, which don’t directly endorse a candidate and don’t have to report their spending. An interesting note Oosting makes is that former New York City Mayor Bloomberg has money behind both pro- and anti-Snyder ads. While Oosting notes that Bloomberg clearly supports Governor Snyder, he has donated money to the Democratic Governors Association, which spends nationally but has been running anti-Snyder ads in the state of Michigan.

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Politics & Government
11:20 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Seniors could play an especially big role in upcoming election

Credit Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

Michiganders age 50 and over are expected to represent well over half of the voters that show up to the polls on November 4.

That is pretty typical of a non-presidential election. But seniors and retirees are already playing an especially important role in this year’s election.

Perry Seavitt, a 70 year old retired teacher from Freemont, considers himself a Republican. But he is not sure which candidate for governor will get his vote. He says he is leaning toward Democrat Mark Schauer because incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder decided to start taxing retiree pensions.

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