Digesting the primary vote - FOX 32 News Chicago

Digesting the primary vote

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(WJBK) - Where to begin?

There is so much to digest from last week's primary vote as voters made some interesting decisions which, lumped together, tell us a heck of a lot about our state.

First of all regarding the desire to participate in the Democracy, apparently the vast majority of voters are allergic to voting as they did not participate.

Money was a mixed bag. Would-be Congressman Paul Mitchell up in Midland opened his wallet, spent $4 million of his own on commercials and yet he lost to state senator John Moolenaar who was the tortoise to Mitchell's hare..  Endorsements were a key element in this race as Bill Schuette and Dave Camp were able to transfer some of their election magic to Mr. Moolenaar who will now likely go on to victory in this very GOP district.

On the other hand money, the $8 million plus spent on Proposal One, was a major influence on voters who bought it hook line and sinker.. It provides a huge business tax break for major corporations which will far exceed their $8 million investment.

Tea Party influence?

Also a mixed bag. About 14 sitting state GOP lawmakers were targeted by that wing of the state GOP and when the votes were counted, they won in about four. Most notable were the wins by Gary Glenn in Midland, Todd Courser in Lapeer and on the west side of the state Cindy Gamrat.  If that trio gets elected in the fall, they will be instant news makers in town.

As for Tea Party endorsed candidates they were not on a mission to oust more moderate GOP house members, they faired quite well.

The take away is the T.P. folks, aided by their friends at the Michigan wing of Americans for Prosperity, were hoping to take out those Republicans who voted for the governor's expansion of Medicaid which was an indirect off-spin of Mr. Obama's health care program. They also targeted R's who said yes to the Common Core curriculum. But Senator Jim Marleau, Sen. Mike Kowall and Rep. Wayne Schimdt were among those who withstood the onslaught and lived to run another day.

Rep. Frank Foster way up North was not as lucky. The GOP lawmaker is out of work come December in part because he got out front on the gay rights issue. That's a dicey issue in the north country and his Tea Party opponent took the incumbent out.  Some in town think the Foster defeat will make it more difficult to pass legislation in lame duck to include the gay community in the state's long standing civil rights law. There may be a chilling effect on other legislators who agree with Foster, but  supporters of the measure are confident they will eventually win.

Name ID is always important in elections and if you are a Conyers or a Dingell that certainly helps.  Congressman John Conyers of Detroit emerged a significant winner over a local pastor in Motown and Debbie Dingell breezed to a win to keep the Dingell name alive as she is likely to takeover from her husband John who will retire at the end of the year.

Kerry Bentivolio proved that you need to know how to play the game in order to win. The accidental congressperson got swamped by a political unknown Dave Trott who opened his wallet and won going away. Mr. B. can now go back to being Santa Claus and maybe he will repurchase all those reindeer he sold to stay in office.

Back on the endorsement front, Rudy Hobbs had a ton of labor folks blessing his congressional candidacy in the 14th district in Oakland County. So much for that. He fell short by 2,000 votes as Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence eeked out a win while former Congressman Hanson Clark blew an early lead and ended up on the outside looking in. Ms. Lawrence did benefit from an endorsement from Emily's List which embraces and funds female candidates.

On the west side of the state, the GOP establishment wanted to take out incumbent GOP Congressman Justin Amash with business guy Brian Ellis but the mercurial Mr. Amash didn't break a sweat in sending his opponent to the showers. Mr. Amash gave a parting shot to the guy who once held that seat, "lobbyist" Pete Hoekstra.  Apparently Mr. A. did not like it that Mr. H. endorsed Mr. E. and he told the election night crowd  Mr. Hoekstra would be relegated to political obscurity.  Warm letter to follow.

And then there was the case of Wayne County executive Bob Ficano. Once mentioned years ago as a possible Democratic candidate for governor, Mr. Ficano finished dead last in his re election bid as stories of corruption and mismanagement plagued his effort to hang onto his job.

The losers now ponder what went wrong and what might have been and the winners will take a deep breath and maybe even take a little time off, as the forced march to November begins right now.

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