Follow Election 2012 with Michigan Radio

Welcome to Michigan Radio’s coverage page for the 2012 Election.

If you’re looking for more information to help with your decisions, you can read our collection of stories about key races featured below.

You can also check out our Guide to the Ballot Proposals.

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Commentary
11:24 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Losing your horse

Back before warfare became mechanized, one of the worst things that could happen, especially in the cavalry, was to have your horse shot out from under you on a battlefield.

This left you naked, vulnerable, and without any way to get back to your lines if the bugle suddenly sounded retreat. The temptation must have been overwhelming to try to get another horse, fast, by any means necessary. I thought about that yesterday, when what had been obvious for days finally became official:

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Election 2012
5:25 pm
Sat January 14, 2012

GOP Senatorial Debate

Five men hoping to challenge U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in November spoke to Tea Party members Saturday afternoon in Mount Pleasant. The candidates included libertarian activist Scotty Boman; former Hillsdale College vice president Clark Durant; and Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association.

The debate was sponsored by Michigan for a Conservative Senate and CMU Campus Conservatives.

Former congressman Pete Hoekstra was not at the event. The GOP front runner has said he won’t participate in forums that are attached to a straw poll. The same tea party groups that sponsored the debate will participate in a straw poll next month to endorse a candidate.

Commentary
11:35 am
Wed January 11, 2012

The Secret Primary

Well, we now know who won the New Hampshire primary. Michigan’s Republican primary is going to be held February 28. Democrats will pick their delegates in caucuses four months from now, on May 5. There isn’t any urgency for them; they have only one candidate: President Barack Obama.

So Republicans are using a primary; Democrats a caucus. But there is another primary election you probably don’t know about—and which Michigan Democrats don’t want you to find out about. It is also being held February 28.

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Commentary
11:54 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Who is Clark Durant?

Clark Durant is a man of ideas who is far more knowledgeable about American history than most United States senators I’ve met.

His office is filled with portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, together with photos of a much younger Clark with Ronald Reagan and Sandra Day O’Connor. He’s fascinated by Washington, D.C. and absolutely hates its culture.

This year, he’s running hard for the United States Senate, because he thinks his country is in great danger of being destroyed by debt and spending with no thought for the consequences.

And he believes that maybe, just maybe, he can do something to change that. “If this were just about trying to be one more Republican senator, I wouldn’t be doing this. I know I would be a freshman senator, bottom of the pack in seniority, at 63 years old."

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Seeking Change
9:23 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Changing America's 'two-party' system

Immortal Poet Flickr

Michigan Radio begins a new program on Morning Edition today. During the new series, Seeking Change, we'll explore the different ways that people are trying to help along change in their communities. This year’s presidential campaign is already taking up hours of air-time. 

Voters are seeing continuous TV ads and the candidates have begun disseminating their messages and campaign promises all over the place. But, Americans Elect wants to change that... at least the length of the campaign “season.” Americans Elect is a non-partisan group that is sick of the two-party system. Supporters would like to create a party by and for the people.

Brian Betts, an Americans Elect delegate, speaks with Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley for the first edition of Seeking Change.

Election 2012
6:27 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Michigan Democrats plan 'endorsement convention'

Michigan Democrats plan to endorse their candidates for the state Supreme Court and statewide education boards on March 10.

The Michigan Democratic Party announced the move Thursday. It will allow Democrats to get a head start on campaigning in those races for the November 2012 election.

The endorsements will come several months before Democrats can officially nominate candidates to run for those offices. Nominating conventions typically are scheduled for August or later.

Democrats also used an endorsement convention to get a head start on campaigning for some races in 2010.

Democrats plan to endorse three candidates for the Michigan Supreme Court during the March event at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Commentary
12:33 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

What Iowa Really Meant for Mitt Romney and GOP candidates

If you are a political trivia buff, you may know that nobody from Michigan has ever been elected president. Gerald Ford, remember, was appointed vice president, took over when Richard Nixon resigned, and then lost his bid for election on his own.

In fact, nobody born in Michigan has ever been president at all. Ford was born in Nebraska. The closest we’ve actually come to a native son in the White House was Thomas E. Dewey, who was the Republican nominee twice in the nineteen-forties.

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Commentary
2:41 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Presidential Campaign at Fever Pitch

Well, now it really is the new year. It’s Tuesday; it’s snowy and bone-chilling cold in much of Michigan, and in case you hadn’t noticed, the presidential campaign is in full steam.

Actually, the campaign never stopped, as far as I could tell, but it’s at fever pitch today, because the Iowa caucuses are tonight. If you like baseball more than politics, this is sort of Opening Day.

Opening Day, except that the exhibition season has already lasted about two years, and the World Series, election day itself, is more than ten months away.

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Offbeat
2:35 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Out of tune: a roundup of 9 campaign song gaffes

Kid Rock in his "Born Free" video. Republican Presidential hopeful has adopted the song as his campaign ballad.
screen grab from YouTube video

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is sticking to his Michigan roots, at least in his choice of campaign song.

Romney has chosen "Born Free" by Detroit-area rocker Kid Rock to serve as the theme music for his bid for the Republican nomination.

While a post on Kid Rock's website seems to give at least tacit approval to Romney's use of the song, things don't always go so smoothly for candidates when choosing their soundtracks.

Michigan Radio has put together a list of controversies, disputes, and gaffes related to campaign songs:

  1. In what might be deemed a classic of campaign song missteps, Bruce Springsteen was none too happy when Ronald Reagan praised "Born in the U.S.A" during his 1984 campaign, as told by CNN.
  2. Earlier this year, Rolling Stone reported that Republican primary contender Michelle Bachmann drew the ire of Tom Petty for using his song "American Girl" to tout her patriotism and her position as the only woman in the Republican field.
  3. Apparently, Bachmann didn't learn anything from President George W. Bush who was scolded by Petty back in 2000 for using "I Won't Back Down" without permission.
  4. A post from mentalfloss.com reports that in 2008, John McCain had a heap of campaign song troubles, receiving cease and desist requests from John Mellencamp, Boston, Foo Fighters, and Jackson Browne in response to his use of their songs.
  5. McCain's running-mate Sarah Palin also took heat for using "Barracuda" by Heart as her intro music at the Republican National Convention. As Rolling Stone reports, a press release from the band said the song was written as "a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women" and that the band found "irony in Republican strategists' choice to make use of it there."
  6. In a more creative, but no less artist-angering effort, Bob Dole rewrote the lyrics to the 1960's Sam & Dave hit "Soul Man,"  to create the eponymous "Dole Man," before being threatened by the song's rights-holders (again from mentalfloss.com)
  7. Not to be accused of partisanship, however, Sam Moore of the above mentioned duo took issue with Barack Obama's use of the group's song "Hold On, I'm Comin.'" As Mother Jones reports, Moore was nonplussed by the politicization of a song about "gettin girls."
  8. While not technically a campaign song per se, Herman Cain became the punch-line of more than a few jokes (many of them made by the Daily Show's John Stewart) for quoting the theme song of the Pokemon movie during his speeches.
  9. If the above stories show that misuse of music by political candidates is an increasingly-common occurrence, then at least, as the Washington Post reports, Charlie Christ had the decency to record a video apology to David Byrne of the Talking Heads for his unauthorized use of the song "Road to Nowhere."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
5:33 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Mitt Romney picks Kid Rock's "Born Free" as campaign theme song

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney went back to his Michigan roots to choose a campaign theme song.

“Born Free” by Michigan native Kid Rock has been chosen as Romney's official campaign theme. A Romney staffer confirmed the music selection with Michigan Radio this afternoon.

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Politics
10:50 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain addresses issues, not allegations, last night in Hillsdale

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain
(courtesy of the Herman Cain campaign)

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says America is failing to lead the world: militarily, economically and morally.  But at a speech last night in Hillsdale, Cain did not mention the scandal dogging his campaign.     

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Politics
2:32 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain brings troubled campaign to Michigan tonight

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain
(courtesy of the Herman Cain campaign)

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain will speak to an audience tonight at Hillsdale College.  

But while Cain's speech will focus on his foreign policy positions, questions are being raised about his personal domestic relations.    

A Georgia businesswoman claimed this week that she and Cain have had a 13 year affair.  Cain denies the allegation. His campaign describes the allegation as 'dirty politics' and a 'smear'.   

The allegation follows reports that Cain has allegedly sexually harassed women in the past. Cain denies those allegations as well.  

There are multiple news media reports that Herman Cain is 'reassessing' his campaign. Herman Cain has dropped in Republican presidential polls since the allegations arose earlier this fall.

It is not known if Cain will address the latest allegation against him or the future of his presidential aspirations at tonight's event on the Hillsdale College campus.

Politics
1:44 pm
Thu November 10, 2011

Consequences of the Paul Scott recall: "I'll give you something to cry about"

State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

There’s a story in my family, that my mom tells, and it goes something like this: when my mom and her siblings were little, and they would start to cry, my Grandpa would look at them and say, “Why are you crying? I’ll give you something to cry about.” Now, I’m pretty sure he was joking. In fact, I don’t think he ever laid a hand on anyone in his life.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering, what does this story have anything to do with anything newsworthy in Michigan. Stay with me, I'll explain:

On Tuesday, voters in Michigan’s Genesee County recalled Republican state Representative Paul Scott. The recall was largely waged and funded by the Michigan Education Association (MEA). The powerful teacher’s union went after Scott because of his position as chairman of the House Education Committee. In that role, he supported new teacher tenure laws and cuts to state education funding. So, on Election Day, the MEA “won” – they got their guy recalled.

But, there’s a catch. With Scott gone, Republican Speaker of the House Jase Bolger got to choose a new chairman for the House Education Committee.

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Politics
9:03 am
Thu November 10, 2011

GOP candidates touch on manufacturing, auto bailouts at Michigan debate

CNBC

Eight contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination talked jobs and the economy last night at CNBC's "Your Money, Your Vote" debate.

The debate took place at Oakland University in suburban Detroit. But for the most part, the candidates spoke little about issues specific to Michigan or the Midwest.

One exception was the issue of whether the government should have propped up the domestic auto industry. The answer seemed to be a universal “no.”

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Commentary
11:33 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Yesterday's Election Results

People are willing to pay more taxes, if they understand what the taxes are for and want the services they will provide.

That, more than anything else, seems to be the message Michigan voters sent in yesterday’s off-off year election.

Turnout wasn’t great, but the preliminary numbers I’ve seen hint it may have been slightly higher than expected. And those voters who showed up mostly seemed to be civic-minded.

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News Roundup
11:01 am
Mon November 7, 2011

In this morning's news...

Republican candidates to debate in Michigan this Wednesday

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reports the nationally televised Republican presidential debate will be held at Oakland University this Wednesday. The debate will begin at 8 p.m. and coverage on CNBC will start at 7 p.m. The economy is expected to be a major focus of the debate.

The University has a series of events planned around the debate.

UM nurses approves 3-year contract

Nurses working at the University of Michigan Health System have been working without a contract since July 1. Now they've agreed to a three year deal with UMHS.

From the Detroit News:

The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council's membership this past weekend approved a new contract that includes a phasing in of health insurance premium increases and includes 3 percent wage increases the first and second years and 4 percent the third year of the contract, plus step increases, said Katie Oppenheim , president of the nurse council.

New Visitor Center for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

U.S. Representative John Dingell's dream of an international wildlife refuge along the Detroit River flyway became a reality in 2001. And the Refuge continues to receive investments.

The Associated Press reports the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is getting almost $1.4 million for work next year at the site of a future visitor's center. Officials plan to announce the funding in Trenton today. They are also marking the completion of $1.2 million in cleanup and restoration at the Refuge Gateway.

Politics
1:00 am
Mon November 7, 2011

GOP candidates to debate at Oakland U. this week

DonkeyHotey flickr

Oakland University will host a nationally televised Republican presidential debate this week.

With Michigan’s high unemployment rate, and hosts from the business cable channel CNBC moderating the event, the economy is expected to be a major focus of Wednesday night’s debate.

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain will take the stage after a week of fielding questions about accusations of sexual harassment that allegedly happened in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, Michigan native and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is working to regain the lead he once had in the race, before Cain’s meteoric rise in the polls.

In addition to Cain and Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have all confirmed they’ll attend. They’ll share the stage with Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

Moderators will give each candidate one minute to respond to a question, or 30 seconds to respond to a follow-up question.

The Michigan Republican Party is a co-sponsor of the event.

The debate begins at 8 p.m. CNBC will begin coverage at 7 p.m.

Politics
1:01 am
Tue November 1, 2011

The race to replace Congressman Dale Kildee begins

Retiring Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The race to replace longtime Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee moves into a higher gear today.   

Kildee announced earlier this year he would not seek a 19th term in Congress.   

Today, the outgoing congressman’s nephew, Dan Kildee will  formally announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. 

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History
5:31 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

What can Mitt Romney learn from his father's GOP presidential campaign?

George W. Romney with son, Mitt, overlooking the Chrysler exhibit at the New York World's Fair grounds on May 18, 1964.
Wikipedia

Mitt Romney may be the current front runner for the GOP presidential nomination, but forty-four years ago his father George Romney was in a similar position. Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry gives us a historical perspective and explains the similarities and differences between the two Romneys and the two eras.

Politics
2:07 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Increased spending in state high court races, Michigan tops the list

A report by the Brennan Center for Justice, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and the Justice at State Campaign says the outside money being spent in state high court races amounts to a "hostile takeover of judicial elections."

The authors of the report, the New Politics of Judicial Elections 2009-2010, wrote that $16.8 million was spent on television advertising for state high court elections in the 2009-10 election cycle — "making 2009-10 the costliest non-presidential election cycle for TV spending in judicial elections."

According to the report, more television campaign ads for state high court elections ran in Michigan than in any other state during the 2010 election cycle.

10,781 ads ran in Michigan. That total accounts for 29 percent of the total state high court campaign ads to run across the country.

And for total money spent on these campaigns, Michigan is at the top.

From the report:

Michigan, ranked sixth in candidate fundraising, surges to No. 1 when all sources of money, including independent TV ads, are considered.

The Top Ten states by total spending on state high court elections, 2009-2010:

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