Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Senate election map 2010
user leodac / Creative Commons

by Niala Boodhoo of Changing Gears

This week's election brought a new sheen of red to the Great Lakes states: with the Republican party seizing control of governorships and state houses across the region. In many cases, it was the first time the Republican Party has taken control since 2003. So what does this political reinvention mean for the region?

The economy was a familiar theme on election night. It was invoked to cheering crowds by each of the incoming governors of Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Republican governor-elect John Kasich of Ohio:

Rick Snyder talking to people
Rick Snyder's campaign website

The confetti and balloons have be swept up, and the yard signs are slowly being removed.

At 12:01 pm on January 1st, 2011, Michigan will have a new governor.

Governor-elect Snyder is assembling the people that will move into positions of power in Lansing.

Snyder has chosen three former Engler administration officials to head up the transition team:

Macomb County will be represented by a county executive for the first time, starting in January. 

 

County Sheriff Mark Hackel was elected to the post – which voters approved as part of a new county charter last year. 

 

Hackel says Macomb County and the southeast Michigan region stand to benefit from the change.

 

 "I think it provides a lot more stability and the first to set forward a vision or an agenda for the county itself. We’ve never had that opportunity before," Hackel said. 

 

The campaigns for Michigan candidates for Congress drew a lot of money from out of state. 

The price tag for the Congressional campaigns comes in at about $40 million.  Rich Robinson is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  He says the political parties in Washington, unions, and non-profits with anonymous contributors all chipped in.

“Of the $40 million, I’m estimating $16.8 million of that came from outside sources.”

Voter turnout map
Lani Chisnell / Michigan Radio

The Secretary of State's office has released unofficial voter turnout results for all the counties in Michigan (the State Board of Canvassers will make them official later this month).

  • The voters in Leelanau county scored the best turnout rate in the state at 61.60%
  • The voters in Cass county scored the worst turnout rate in the state at 35.74%

Here are the top 5:

Outgoing Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land had expected 52% of eligible voters to show up at the polls yesterday. The unofficial tally stands at 45% today.

The turnout results remain "unofficial" until they are certified by the Board of State Canvassers later this month.

Of the 7.28 million registered to vote, 3.3 million did so.

(Sarah Hulett, Michigan Radio)

Governor-elect Rick Snyder met this morning with the woman he'll replace in Lansing.

Snyder and Governor Jennifer Granholm shook hands and posed for pictures in front of reporters before the meeting.

"A lot of hard work in the next couple of months," Granholm said, "but I appreciate the commitment to working together that you've continually professed. I think that's going to be healthy for Michigan. Our team stands ready to do whatever it takes to make sure this is a smooth transition."

Ruth Johnson
Photo courtesy of www.rj4mi.com

With Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson's win last night, she becomes the third consecutive Republican woman  to hold the Michigan Secretary of State's office. 

Johnson beat her Democratic challenger Jocelyn Benson, an author and law professor at Wayne State University.

Citypeek/Creative Commons

Michigan's congressional delegation is getting a makeover. One-third of its 15 members will be new.  Here's a rundown of who is in... and who is out:

1st District

Republican Dan Benishek won the race to succeed veteran Democrat Bart Stupak in Michigan’s 1st District which covers all of the Upper Peninsula and parts of the northern Lower Peninsula. Stupak announced in April that he would not seek a 10th term in Washington. Benishek was a Tea-Party favorite and was endorsed by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

2nd District

K Latham/Creative Commons

Governor

Republican Rick Snyder beat Democrat Virg Bernero in the race for governor. Snyder says the state’s economy and government have been broken for too many years and called for inclusiveness rather than divisiveness.

Michigan Legislature

It appears that Republicans have taken control of the Michigan House and added to their majority in the state Senate.  That means the GOP now controls both houses of the Michigan legislature and the Governor’s office.

Michigan Congressional Races

Photo Courtsey of rickformichigan.com

We're getting word this morning that Governor-elect Rick Snyder will meet with Govenror Granholm this morning in Detroit.  The Associated Press reports:

Snyder is expected to announce details of his transition team during an 11 a.m. news conference at the Book Cadillac hotel, then spend the rest of the day meeting with advisers and staff.

Snyder faces a projected $1.4 billion dollar deficit when he takes office on January 1st, and a state jobless rate of 13%.

 

 

It looks like Democrat Gary Peters has won another term in Congress.

With about 90% of precincts reporting, Peters holds a slim lead over his Republican challenger, Rocky Raczkowski.

Peters declared victory to a small crowd just before 2 am. He knows he's going back to a U.S. House with a new Republican majority, and says he hopes the next two years will show more cooperative spirit than the last two.

But he says it's now up to Congressional Republicans to lead the way.

K Latham / Creative Commons

Governor (race called)

  • Virg Bernero (D) 35%
  • Rick Snyder (R) 62%

Attorney General (race called)

  • David Leyton (D) 38%
  • Bill Schuette (R) 56%

Secretary of State (race called)

  • Jocelyn Benson (D) 41%
  • Ruth Johnson (R) 54%

 

U.S. Congress

  15th District (race called)

Update 1:53am: The race in the 9th district has been called. Gary Peters (D) has defeated Rocky Raczkowski (R).

Update: 1:07am Waiting on one race in Michigan. The race for Michigan's 9th congressional district between Gary Peters (D) and Rocky Raczkowski (R) has yet to be called. So far, of the 15 Michigan congressional districts 9 have gone to republicans and 5 have gone to democrats.

Amash, Justin
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A freshman state lawmaker in west Michigan will become one of the youngest congressmen in the nation. 30-year old tea party favorite Justin Amash beat his democratic challenger Pat Miles Tuesday. “A lot of people in grassroots movements are looking for someone who’s going to go there and be transparent, be accountable, fight for the kind of freedoms this country has had for so long," Amash said, "I’m committed to doing that but I’ll bring my own approach to it and that means building relationships on both sides of the aisle.”

President Obama makes calls to republican leadership
White House

The political landscape has changed for President Obama. As returns came in and races were called for republicans across the country, Obama made calls to the man who is likely to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

He also made a call to the current republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell. As of this post, it looks as though Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

The White House statement said:

As polls predicted, Rick Snyder won Michigan's gubernatorial race. The race was declared shortly after polls closed in Michigan. His campaign asked supporters to join in their celebration. On his facebook page, Snyder said:

"We did it! Thank you so much to everyone who worked so hard to get Rick elected! Tomorrow the hard work to Reinvent Michigan begins. But tonight let's celebrate!"

John Dingell being sworn in
John Dingell's website

John Dingell has declared his victory in a closer-than-expected race against Republican Robert Steele.  Dingell has served 56 years, and he will go on to a 28th term.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

At just past midnight, only about half the votes are in in the 9th district Congressional race.

It's a down-to-the wire battle between Democratic incumbent Gary Peters, and Rocky Raczkowski, a Republican with strong Tea Party ties.

Peters holds a slight edge, but it's still too close to call.

Peters just rallied a flagging crowd here at this Troy headquarters. He struck an optimistic tone even as he acknowledged the race remains tight.

Democrat Pat Miles called his republican oppoenent Justin Amash to conceed defeat around 11p.m.

Update 11:50pm: In his victory speech Governor-elect Rick Snyder says he'll apply business principals to resolve Michigan's economic troubles, including tax cuts and smarter regulation:

Update 10:39pm: Virg Bernero talks to crowd at party

Update 10:09pm: Virg Bernero has conceded defeat. He's giving a speech now.

Update 9:30: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says crowd needs to show Virg Bernero the "love and respect" he deserves when he comes down to make his speech.

Virg Bernero takes the stage
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Update 11:46pm: Virg Bernero took the stage at the MGM Grand in Detroit at around 10pm to give his concession speech.

Bernero congratulated his supporters, saying they fought hard and he was proud of the campaign. Bernero said even though he lost the race, he'll still continue to fight for a strong middle class, and that even though the campaign ends tonight..."the fight for a Michigan of opportunity  for everyone goes on."

Bernero also promised to work with Republican Rick Snyder as long as Snyder governs as a moderate:

U.S. Capitol
user kulshrax / Creative Commons

Update 11:51pm: The 7th district has been called for Republican Tim Walberg.

11:03pm: Three congressional races in Michigan remain close. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that even with the aid of key precinct data, the Free Press was unable to immediately call winners in Michigan’s 15th, 7th and 9th congressional districts.

WOW.

I'm covering both candidates vying for the 9th Congressional district tonight. Democrat Gary Peters is trying to hold off Republican challenger Rocky Raczkowski.

I expected a more subdued crowd at Peters' Troy headquarters. But it was still a jolt to go from the bouyant energy at Rocky headquarters, to a downright...shellshocked crowd here.

But even as Republicans are running roughshod over Democrats state and nationwide, this race is still way too close to call.

Introducing Robert Young, who won another term as a Michigan Supreme Court justice, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says ads run against Young were "below the belt," and funded by Detroit attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

To applause, Young says he will uphold the constitution of the United States, along with his three fellow "rule of law" justices on the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court race is ostensibly non-partisan, but candidates are nominated by the state parties.

Republican Bill Schuette gave his acceptance speech just now, declaring that Michigan needs less crime and lower taxes and now that Republicans are in charge, will get both.    "Are you all on duty?" he asked the crowd in an echo of his campaign slogan, Schuette on Duty.

Miles, Pat
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

About 80 supporters of 3rd congresssional candidate Pat Miles looked on silently as Virg Bernero conceeded tonight. They cheered when Bernero spoke of rooting for Michigan and not Snyder's failure.

Michigan Supreme Court
photo courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

The Chairman of the state Republican Party Ron Weisner says state voters elected Republicans across the board:  Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and the courts.  "Quite frankly we're swamping them in the courts.  We're able to retake the courts finally!"  He also said Republicans were elected to all educational boards, as well as winning a majority of both the state House and state Senate -- and that long-time U.S. Congressman John Dingell could be defeated by his Republican challenger Rocky Razkowski, and that former U.S.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The early numbers are not looking good for incumbent Democratic congressman Mark Schauer.   Republican Tim Walberg holds a 4 percenatge point lead with more than a third of the votes counted so far.   Schauer is only leading Walberg in Calhoun County.   Still Schauer loyalists say they are ready for a long night.   Schauer is talking with his supporters, but not the news media just yet.  His campaign spokesman says they are waiting until more numbers are in. 

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