One of the most painful losses for Michigan was the loss of Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Cliff Taylor to liberal democrat Diane Hathaway. This is all the more so since it was unexpected. The vote was 49% to 39%, with 11% going to Libertarian nominee Robert Roddis. Taylor significantly outraised Hathaway, got a lot of good endorsements, was the incumbent, and was not listed on the ballot as a Republican. So what happened?
Democrats ran an ad accusing Taylor of falling asleep in court. The ad wasn't true, of course, but it was never effectively rebutted by Taylor's ads. The democrats appear to have done a good job of getting word out to their voters to support Hathaway. With the large turnout for Obama, enough of it carried over to defeat Taylor.
Still, it's noteworthy that Hathaway didn't get a majority of the vote. Roddis pulled 11%, and there was no far-left candidate (Green, etc.) to pull votes from the left. Libertarian nominees have typically done relatively well in supreme court races in Michigan (that is, around 10%). Why? No parties being listed on the ballot has something to do with it, but beyond that it's a mystery.
Now, goodness knows there are plenty of reasons for libertarians to not be happy with the Republican Party right now. But how does that carry over to Taylor? Taylor supported the rule of law, the free market, property rights, limiting lawsuit damages, gun rights, and opposed racial preferences. What's a libertarian not to like? Of course, libertarians are nowhere near 11% of the Michigan electorate. There had to be a lot of other voters who went for Roddis. But why?
With the seats of staunch conservative Robert Young and RINO Elizabeth Weaver up for election in 2010, Republicans had better figure out the answers to these questions.