Friday, November 30, 2012

Streamlining Concealed Carry

The Michigan Senate may be sitting on the bill to repeal handgun registration, but it did pass another bill to streamline the concealed carry process.  From the NRA:

Michigan: Legislation to Expand Concealed Carry and Eliminate Concealed Weapons Licensing Boards Approved by the state Senate, Sent to House

New WMU Trustees

Governor Snyder appointed two new members of the WMU Board of Trustees.  They will replace Granholm appointees Dennis Archer, former mayor of Detroit, and Larry Tolbert, a union official.

Gov. Rick Snyder appoints two new members to Western Michigan University Board of Trustees
New WMU trustees Michelle Crumm and Ron Hall both have business backgrounds, CEO experience

The new trustees are Michelle Crumm and Ronald Hall.
Crumm, appointed to replace Tolbert, is owner and CEO of Present Value LLC, which provides business strategy, forecasting and planning services. She co-founded and is former chief business officer of Adaptive Materials Inc., where she worked for 12 years.

Crumm is a board member for the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and Arbor Hospice, and chairs the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum board. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Purdue University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.

Hall is chairman and CEO of New Center Stamping and president and CEO of Bridgewater Interiors, both Detroit-based automotive supply companies. He worked for Ford Motor Co. for 15 years, and served as president and CEO of the Michigan Minority Business Development Council and as director of the Minority Economic Development, Detroit Inc.

Hall, who will replace Archer, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from WMU and a master’s degree in business administration from Wayne State University.
So both live in the Detroit area.

Where are they politically?  Searching Open Secrets, we find that Crumm has one federal contribution, $1000 to democrat John Dingell in 2006.  Hall has one federal contribution, $250 to Debbie Stabenow in 2003.  Wonderful.

http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=crumm%2C+michelle&state=MI&zip=&employ=&cand=&old=Y&sort=N&capcode=9rtnz&submit=Submit+your+Donor+Query
http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?name=hall%2C+ronald&state=MI&zip=&employ=&cand=&old=Y&sort=N&capcode=fxp5f&submit=Submit+your+Donor+Query

Two years ago, Snyder appointed Dana Debel, a lobbyist who didn't go to Western, worked for Governor Granholm, and lives in Ann Arbor.

Business backgrounds are nice, but is it too much to expect some appointees who are actually Republicans and live in the Kalamazoo area?  How about Dale Shugars, Tom George, Cameron Brown, or John Balkema?  We need some Republicans after eight years of Granholm appointees.  And trustees who live in the area are more likely to actually know what is happening on campus.

Previous:
Snyder Appoints Democrat WMU Trustee
New Trustees

Michigan Senate Still Stalling Gun Rights Bill

The NRA has another alert reminding citizens that the Michigan Senate still has not acted on a bill to repeal handgun registration in Michigan.

Michigan: Time Running Out to Repeal State Handgun Registration and Permit System

Read the whole thing. Apparently, the bill is being stalled due to pressure from Governor Snyder and the Michigan State Police.

What good are "pro-gun" legislators if they won't actually vote on pro-gun bills?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Freedom of Speech on Campus

Michigan Capital Confidential reports on FIRE's ratings of campus speech codes.

Vague University Policies Punish Students For Jokes, 'Obnoxious' Comments, 'Insulting' Phone Calls or Texts
FIRE: Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University gets a "red light" rating.
Western Michigan University says that students cannot use the school's internet to "post or send material that is contrary to the mission or values of the University."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tea Party Versus Establishment Senate Candidates

One of the arguments you often hear against the Tea Party from liberals and establishment Republicans is that Tea Party candidates cost Republicans control of the US Senate.  But does this claim stand up to scrutiny?  Let's examine race-by-race to determine whether it is true.

2010:

Delaware:  There is no question that Christine O'Donnell was a terrible candidate.  It isn't quite so clear that she was Tea Party candidate. The race was mostly ignored until a few weeks before the primary, when many national conservatives endorsed her to stop moderate Republican Congressman Mike Castle (ACU life 52%) from winning.  O'Donnell was more a traditional conservative than a Tea Partier, but I won't split hairs here.

Castle was definitely a stronger candidate, but it is a myth that he was a shoo-in.  The CNN exit poll showed that Castle would have lost to democrat Chris Coons 44-43.  And that's without the democrats having spent millions attacking him, as they undoubtedly would have.  Instead, the left spent a lot of time and effort attacking a Republican who was going to lose anyways.  So even in what would seem to be the strongest case for the anti-Tea Party side, the facts don't support them.

Nevada: Sharon Angle won the Republican primary to face Harry Reid over Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden.  She lost by 6% to Reid. Angle was a weak candidate, though not in the same category as O'Donnell.  On the other hand, her primary opponents were hardly strong candidates either.  Tarkanian has now lost four bids for office (state senate, SOS, US Senate, congress).  Lowden was a one-term state senator whose campaign lost steam after derisible chicken-bartering comments.  It is far from obvious that either of them would have outperformed Angle by 6%.  I agree that Dean Heller or Jon Porter would have won, but they chose not to run.

Colorado: Ken Buck beat Jane Norton in the Republican primary before losing to democrat incumbent Ken Bennett.  As far as I can tell, Buck was a decent candidate, but he was smeared as anti-woman for not prosecuting an alledged rapist due to lack of evidence.  Perhaps Norton would have done better, but it is worth noting that she was elected Lieutenant Governor of Colorado on a ticket with incumbent Bill Owens, not on her own.  There is no evidence that she was an electoral powerhouse.

Alaska: Joe Miller beat Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary.  Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate and won the general election.  Murkowski was a stronger candidate, but from what I have heard, Miller still would have beaten the weak democrat nominee.

2012:

Missouri: Congressman Todd Akin beat Sarah Steelman and John Brunner in the Republican primary before losing to democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill.  Akin was a bad candidate who destroyed his campaign with rape-related remarks.  But he was not a Tea Party candidate; he found his strongest support from social conservatives.  Steelman had some Tea Party and establishment support, and Brunner had some Tea Party and libertarian support.

Indiana: Richard Mourdock, state treasurer of Indiana, defeated incumbent senator Richard Lugar in the primary 61%-39% before losing to democrat congressman Joe Donnely.  Mourdock was a Tea Party candidate who also had some local establishment support.  He was twice elected state treasurer, winning 62% in 2010.  I am not aware of any widespread claims that he was a weak candidate before the primary.

Lugar had long won by large margins, but he had not faced a serious challenge since first being elected to the senate, and was unopposed in 2004.  He was out of touch with Indiana, had no residence in the state, and ignored clear signs that his campaign was in trouble until it was too late.  He could have (I believe would have) experienced a similar collapse in the general election if he had coasted through the primary.  Joe Donnely could have run to the right of Lugar on guns (Lugar had an NRA F rating), immigration, and possibly foreign policy, just as Mourdock had done.

Incredibly, there is not a single clear case of the Tea Party costing Republicans a US Senate seat.  Possibly some of their primary opponents would have won, but it is easy to imagine fantasy candidates doing better than real-life candidates.  Real candidates are imperfect and make mistakes.

Moreover, the "O'Donnell and Angle cost us the senate" argument is disingenuous because it cherry-picks evidence.  It ignores the Tea party candidates who did win, and the establishment candidates who collapsed.

Tea Party candidates who won:
  • Kentucky: Rand Paul was at least as strong as his primary opponent.
  • Florida: Marco Rubio beat RINO turned independent Charlie Crist and became a national star.
  • Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey pushed out Arlen Specter and narrowly won a dem-leaning state.
  • Wisconsin: Ron Johnson found the right appeal to win a swing state.
  • Utah: Mike Lee won the primary in a state to Republican would lose.
  • Texas: Ted Cruz easily won the general after a tough primary.
Establishment candidates who collapsed/underperformed:
  • Colorado governor: Scott McKinnis imploded in a plagiarism scandal.
  • Kentucky governor: David McWilliams ran a terrible campaign.
  • North Dakota senate: Rick Berg was establishment all the way, and lost a state other Republicans won easily.
  • Wisconsin senate: Tommy Thompson ran a listless campaign and lost to leftist Tammy Baldwin.
  • Montana senate: Denny Rehberg ran a weak campaign.
It would be just as disingenuous to say "Establishment candidates Berg and Thompson cost us the senate, so we should never support an establishment candidate again!"  That would also be cherry-picking.

Beyond specific races, the Tea Party infused volunteers into the Republican party and provided a boost in many races where no Tea Party candidate was running.  But I doubt this would have happened without Tea Party candidates on the ballot.

The lesson here is not that Republicans shouldn't nominate Tea Partiers, but that Tea Partiers should make an effort to find stronger candidates.  Now that they have proven that they can beat incumbents and establishment favorites, that should be easier to do.  Both Tea Partiers and social conservatives need candidates who are experienced at defending conservative beliefs to unfriendly audiences, not just "preaching to the choir".  They found such candidates in Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey, and Marco Rubio, and they can find and elect more.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

6th Circuit Disenfranchizes Voters

The full 6th circuit court of appeals has struck down the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative by an 8-7 vote.  This follows a three judge panel's 2-1 vote to strike it down last year, and a federal judge upholding it in 2008.

This decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court, which will soon decide another racial discrimination/affirmative action case from the University of Texas.  It is possible that they will use this case to finally end affirmative action in this country.

The actual argument the court used to overturn the MCRI is ludicrous.  Even the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press (!) agree on that point.  They essentially say that the MCRI is too hard for minorities to overturn, which discriminates against them.  This assumes that the  position of minorities is to oppose equal treatment and support racial discrimination, which is not necessarily true.

Moreover, the MCRI was passed using the normal procedures for passing a constitutional amendment in Michigan.  Opponents of any constitutional amendment have significant advantages, since undecideds mostly vote no.  In addition, opponents significantly outspent supporters, most special interests (including the Chamber of Commerce), most politicians (including Dick DeVos and Mike Bouchard) and most newspapers opposed it.  Despite all this, the MCRI passed 58%-42%, winning all but three counties.

Opponents of the MCRI could use exactly the same procedure to repeal it, if they could convince a majority of Michigan citizens to agree.

Compare this to the difficulty of overturning a judicial decision.  If any procedure imposes extraordinary hurdles to overturning it, a judicial decision is it.

We should all wish good health for Justices Scalia and Kennedy.  In the mean time, the Republicans in the Michigan legislature should pass the MCRI as a statute as well.

Previous:
Sailer on MCRI
Outrageous!
MCRI Upheld
MCRI Battle
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2012 Analysis: Michigan

The 2012 election was rough on the top of the ticket in Michigan.  Mitt Romney lost 44.8%-54.3%, improving significantly over John McCain's performance, but not enough to overcome the democrat lean of the state in presidential years.  He actually won 63 of 83 counties, but Obama won six of the largest seven.

Michigan Presidential Results: County Map

The results were much worse in the Senate race, where Pete Hoekstra was destroyed by Debbie Stabenow 38%-58.8%.  This race is the subject of this separate post:

2012 Analysis: Senate
Michigan Senate Results: County Map

Beyond these races, though Michigan Republicans held up pretty well, though. We held all our congressional seats, maintaining a 9-5 edge.

Michigan Congressional Results

1: Benishek 48.2%, McDowell 47.5%  This one was a lot closer than in 2010, though it was never lean democrat, as some national pundits claimed.  Redistricting saved Benishek.  He will probably have an easier time winning his third (and final?) term in 2014.
2. Huizinga 61.1% German 34.4%
3. Amash 52.7% Pestka 41.1% Libertarian 3.1%  I told you Amash was safe. Democrats ran their best possible candidate in a fairly dem year and it still wasn't close.  Amash should settle in, but he still needs to repair his relationships with Right to Life and the NRA.
4. Camp 63.1% Worth 35.5%
5. Slezak 31.4% Kildee 65%
6. Upton 54.5% O'Brien 42.7%  Upton's committee chairmanship fueled a tougher challenge from Mike O'Brien, who won most of the democrats who have padded Upton's margins in past years.  Upton has lost some of his luster, but this seat is still his as long as he wants it.
7. Walberg 53.3% Haskell 43%  Walberg will never win huge margins, but he is finally settling into this seat.
8. Rogers 58.6% Enderle 37.3%
9. Volaric 34% Levin 61.9%
10. Miller 68.7% Stadler 29.8%  Macomb loves them some Candi.  Run for Senate, please?
11. Bentivolio 50.8% Taj 44.4%  One of the strangest house campaigns ended with Tea Party candidate Bentivolio holding this seat against Muslim socialist Syed Taj.  Bentivolio will have to do a good job, or risk defeat by a primary challenger who is not a write-in.
12. Kallgren 29% Dingell 67.9%
13. Sawicki 13.6% Conyers 82.8%
14. Hauler 15.6% Peters 82.2%

Republicans were wiped out in the education board races.  Incumbent MSU trustee Melanie Foster came the closest.  Foster and one of the State Board of Eduation candidates could have won if they had received the votes that went to the Libertarian and Constitution party candidates.

Republicans won a big victory in holding their Michigan Supreme Court seats.  Steven Markman (R) was reelected to his final term with 23%, and Bridgit McCormack (D, 23.8%) captured the seat of age-limited democrat Marilyn Kelly.  They defeated Connie Kelley (D, 21.6%) and Colleen O'Brien (R, 21.3%).

Brian Zahra (R) won a 2-year partial term fairly easily 49.5%-41.7% over Sheila Johnson (D). The incumbency designation likely saved Markman and helped Zahra.  Zahra will have to run again for a full term in 2014, when Republicans will also try to capture the open seat of age-limited democrat Michael Cavanaugh.

Michigan State Rep results

Republicans held their majority in the state house despite a net loss of five seats.  Redistricting eliminated three dem seats in Detroit, which were replaced by dem seats in Macomb, Monroe (17), and Kent (74).  Dems held the first two and the latter was a safe GOP pickup.  But Republicans conceded 55 in Washtenaw, so there was no net gain from redistricting, though some existing seats were strengthened.  Five incumbent Republicans lost (52, 72, 76, 84, 91) and the GOP picked up an open dem seat (39).

23 Somerville 50.5% Boritzki 49.5%
25 Clark (R) 48.6% Yanez  51.4%  Better redistricting could have won this seat.
39 Kesto (R) 53.3% Jackson 46.7% A pickup of a dem seat improved by redistricting.
41 Howrylak 50.5% Kerwin 49.5%
52 Ouimet 47% Driskell 53%  Huge redistricting fail.
57 Jenkins 52.5% Schmidt 47.5%
63 Bolger 50.9% Martin 49.1% This seat was close due to Speaker Bolger's knowledge of Roy Schmidt's party-switching scheme.
67 Oesterle (R) 43.6% Cochran 56.4%
70 Outman (RI) 176K, Huckleberry (D) 78K Lean R
71 Schaughnessy 46.6% Abed 53.4% Big upset in Eaton.  Not sure why.
76 Schmidt 31% Brinks 59.3%  Roy Schmidt switched parties at the filing deadline and recruited a patsy to run as a democrat. The scheme blew up in his face and destroyed his chances of reelection.
84 Dan Grimshaw 38.2% Terry Brown (D) 52.6% Grimshaw beat embattled incumbent Kurt Damrow in the primary.
91 Hughes 47.3% Lamonte 48.1%  Holly Hughes lost her RNC post in May, and now her state house seat.  A libertarian cost her some votes.
101 Franz 51%, O'Shea 49%
106 Pettalia 52.2% Hubbard 45.3%
110 Huuki 48.6% Dianda 51.4% Western UP is tough for local Republicans.

Notably, my rankings were pretty good, with all safe races correct, and only three "lean R" races going the opposite way. My tossups split 3-3.

2012 Analysis: Ballot Propositions

In the ballot propositions, conservatives won big victories by defeating propositions 2, 3, and 4.  Notably, 2 and 4 won only two counties (Wayne and Genesee) and 3 won only Washtenaw.

2012 Analysis: Senate

Debbie Stabenow was reelected to a third term in the US Senate. She destroyed Pete Hoekstra 58.8%-38%.  Hoekstra won only 22 of 83 counties, mostly in West Michigan. (Romney won 63/83.)

Michigan Senate Results: County Map

This race was sadly reminiscent of the 2006 senate race. Back then, Keith Butler was recruited to run.  After running for a while, someone in Washington recruited Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard to run.  Jerry Zandstra also jumped in, though he was eventually disqualified for not getting enough signatures.  The primary absorbed money and time that could better have gone into other races.  Bouchard won, but he had trouble raising enough money to be competitive.  He ran a lackluster campaign and failed to take the conservative position on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.  He lost 41.3%-56.9%.

This year, there were five Republican candidates who submitted signatures, plus a couple more who never got close to the number of signatures required.  Peter Konetchy was disqualified for lack of signatures.  Konetchy, Gary Glenn, and Randy Hekman were all solid conservatives who drew support from the Tea Party.  Glenn dropped out a few weeks before the election.

A bit of history is in order. The last time Michigan elected a Republican senator was in the 1994 midterm, when Spence Abraham won an open seat in a Republican wave.  The last time before that was Robert Griffin's reelection in 1972.  The last time a Republican defeated an incumbent democrat senator was 1952, when moderate Charles Potter beat appointee Blair Moody.  The last time a Republican beat a democrat who had been elected to his seat was in 1942 when Homer Ferguson beat Prentiss Brown. These are the only times since 1900 that a Republican has beat an incumbent democrat for a US senate seat in Michigan.

Frankly, a lot of Tea Party folks were very unrealistic about this race.  Any Republican candidate faced an uphill climb, and no unknown stood a chance.  Konetchy, Glenn, and Hekman wouldn't have gotten within 20 points of Stabenow.

The two top Republican candidates were Hoekstra and Clark Durant.  Hoekstra was supported by much of the establishment, including Governor Snyder, and the Yob faction of the state party.  Durant was supported by the anti-Yob faction of the party, and picked up some national conservative support and some Tea Party support after Glenn dropped out.

Hoekstra was attacked as not conservative enough by his primary opponents.  He had certainly cast some bad votes over the years, but this has to be balanced against the fact that he had a 91% lifetime conservative rating from American Conservative Union.  He would have been the most conservative senator from Michigan in a long time, certainly more than James Couzins, Arthur VanderBerg, Charles Potter, Homer Ferguson, Robert Griffin, or Spence Abraham.

Hoekstra won the primary 54-34 over Durant. As in 2006, the primary sapped money and time better spent elsewhere, and created ill will that hampered Hoekstra's chances in the general.

Hoekstra held the safe 2nd congressional district 1992-2010.  He lost the primary for governor in 2010, finishing second.  He announced his candidacy relatively late after having previously declined to run.  He apparently was talked into running, and it seems his heart wasn't really in the race.

Hoekstra's campaign lacked much of a message.  His one big attack against Stabenow was his infamous "China ad", in which a Chinese woman speaking broken English thanks Stabenow for spending so much money that must be borrowed from China.  The ad was attacked as racist, and while that certainly wasn't the intention, it didn't send the message that Hoekstra hoped it would.

After that, Hoekstra dropped in the polls, and fundraising was tough.  Later in the campaign, he ran a couple amusing web ads in which people debate why Stabenow is the worst senator ever.  (In my opinion, she isn't the worst senator Michigan has right now.)

Hoekstra failed to make an effective case against Stabenow.  He had no appeal beyond the Republican base.  In particular, he offered nothing to the white working class voters that Republicans need to win statewide in Michigan.

Michigan's 2012 senate race was a mess from beginning to end, and neither Hoekstra, the Republican establishment, nor the Tea Party acquitted themselves well in this campaign.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Texas Township is more Republican than Texas

Texas Township two-party presidential results:
Mitt Romney 58.37%
Barack Obama 41.63%

Texas two-party presidential results:
Mitt Romney 58.03%
Barack Obama 41.97%

Friday, November 09, 2012

2012 Analysis: Ballot Propositions

All six 2012 Michigan ballot propositions failed.  Most of them weren't even close.  Here are the numbers.

Michigan ballot issues and judicial races

1. No 52% (emergency managers)
2. No 58% (collective bargaining)
3. No 63% (energy mandate)
4. No 57% (SEIU forced unionization)
5. No 69% (2/3 to raise taxes)
6. No 60% (Detroit/Canada bridge)

The "Vote NO on everything" campaign was very effective.  The message was that special interests were trying to hijack Michigan's constitution.

Newspaper endorsements were also helpful. They don't change many votes in partisan races, but they can make a big difference when people don't know what a proposal is really about. The Detroit News, Free Press, and Mlive papers all endorsed yes on 1, no on the rest.

Proposal 1 came close due to newspaper endorsements and support from the Governor.  The weaker emergency financial managers will return (though there may be lawsuits on that point).  The legislature can always pass a new emergency manager law.

Michigan isn't all that into unions anymore.  The unions put everything into proposal 2 and got destroyed.  The Chamber of Commerce did great work on this issue.  It was slightly disappointing that they chose to focus on the issue of background checks in schools rather than the main issue--whether government employee unions should be able to override laws in their contracts.  Still, given how the unions were trying to trick people, I suppose they had to go with whatever issue was most effective, even if it was somewhat tangential.

Proposal 4 was SEIU's last-ditch effort to save its ripoff of home healthcare workers.  Now that it failed, the end of this scam is finally in sight.

The failure of proposals 2 and 4 has raised some talk of passing a Right to Work bill.  Realistically, this is only going to happen if the Chamber of Commerce is willing to spend 50+ million defending it.  It would have to be put in the Constitution, since the unions would either force a referendum or try to pass another constitutional amendment stopping it.  Perhaps proposals 2 and 4 will inspire Michigan's business leaders to actually make it happen.

Proposal 3 was funded by California environmentalists and "green" corporations seeking handouts.  Thankfully, the (monopoly) energy companies were willing to spend a lot to defend their profits and keep rates down for consumers.

Proposal 6 was Matty Moroun's effort to prevent government competition for his privately-owned bridge.  The bridge would be primarily funded by a loan from Canada paid back by tolls.  Moroun argued (persuasively) that the bridge would not be entirely free, though.  Some supporters of the new bridge on both sides of the border seemed hostile to private ownership of bridges.  Ultimately, Moroun's campaign was ineffective.

Proposal 5 seemed to get lost in the shuffle.  The yes campaign wasn't very visible.  All the special interests that want to raise taxes came out against it, along with many politicians and most newspapers.  Support started at 68% in one poll, but dropped like a rock.  Conservatives were mostly focused elsewhere.

Once again, special interests tried to hijack Michigan's Constitution, and once again they failed.  Past attempts were
No matter how much they spend, if every newspaper and the majority of politicians come out against a ballot proposal as a special interest power grab, it isn't going to pass.  Will special interests finally get the message and stop trying to hijack Michigan's Constitution?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

2012 Analysis: Kalamazoo

Local elections were very mixed for Kalamazoo County Republicans.  The following results come from http://electionmagic.com/.

The top of the ticket was tough for Republicans.  Democrats won the Presidential race in Kalamazoo County for the sixth straight time.  Obama and Stabenow got almost the same number of votes, 69045 and 69067.  The difference between Romney  and Hoekstra was the larger number of third party votes in the Senate race.  Romney got 42.9% and Hoekstra got 39.4%.

Congressman Fred Upton won the 6th district by a smaller 55%-42% margin, with 3% going Libertarian and Constitution.  Democrats ran a stronger campaign, and got most of the democrats who previously voted for Upton to support Mike O'Brien.  In Kalamazoo County, Upton won by 11 votes, 58619-58608, (48.66% to 48.65%).

Democrats won all the education board races in the county, as they did statewide.

Mike Perrin lost to Sean McCann in house district 60 25.8%-74.2%. Margaret O'Brien won district 61 58.2%-41.8% against Michael Martin, who did not campaign.  Aric Nesbitt also won the part of the county he picked up in redistricting.

Jase Bolger actually lost the Kalamazoo portion of the 63rd district (47.8%) but won narrowly thanks to Calhoun.  The furor over Roy Schmidt's party switch and dems flogging the issue with half a million in spending almost cost us, but Speaker Bolger held on.

Results for the countywide offices were mixed.  Mary Balkema was the Republican champion.  Her 59866 votes topped Fred Upton.  She beat Grace Borgfjord 53%-47%.  Mary worked her heart out, showing what a candidate needs to do to win countywide.

Tim Snow nearly lost the clerk race to Brian Johnson, winning 50.9%-49.1% thanks to a lackluster campaign.  Ward Lawrence lost to incumbent Sheriff Richard Fuller 44.6%-55.4%. Nasim Ansari lost to incumbent Drain Commissioner Pat Crowley 39.6%-60.4%.  None of the incumbents had done anything to anger the voters.

Scott Pierangeli lost a heartbreaking race 48.6%-51.4% to Jeffrey Getting for the open prosecutor seat vacated by Jeff Fink.  Pierangeli worked very hard and raised a lot of money.  Unfortunately, he failed to make use of information about the real reason why Getting was fired from the prosecutor's office in 1998.  His decision not to go negative probably cost him the election.

In the county commission races, we have
1. Thompson 13.9% Alford 86.1%
2. Buskirk unopposed
3. Dugal 31.1% Taylor 68.9%
4. Weber 32.2% Seals 67.8%
5. Worthams 44.3% Rogers 55.7%
6. Heppler 54% Novak 46%
7. Tuinier 50.9% Crabtree 49.1%
8. Maturen unopposed
9. Iden 53.9% Kildea 46.1%
10. Stinchcomb 52.8% Farrell 47.2%
11. Zull 52.2% Jager 47.8%

The Republicans who won all underperformed 4-5% compared to typical elections.  Much of this was due to a bad environment.  Some was also due to new territory acquired in redistricting, and to a lack of campaigning by Heppler and Zull.  Apparently neither Tuinier nor Crabtree ran strong campaigns.  Iden campaigned much harder than in 2010. He's running for something, and I don't mean county commission.

Julie Rogers won what should have been a Republican district.  She campaigned very hard, raised a lot of money, and had a lot of supporters left from from her two previous runs for state representative.  Her position as a physical therapist was probably more attractive than Dave Worthams' work for the Michigan Bankers Association.

Republicans won a 6-5 majority on the county commission, following their 10-7 majority in 2010.  Republicans got 47557 (45.3%) votes total compared to dems 57400 (54.7%) but were saved by a solid redistricting plan. (Each party had one unopposed candidate, so the results are comparable.)

Most townships are still Republican, while Kalamazoo Township is now solidly democrat.  The two battlegrounds were Oshtemo and Comstock.

In Oshtemo, dem Libby was easily (57%) reelected Supervisor over John Nieuwenhuis.  Republican Deb Everett was narrowly (50.5%) reelected clerk over Jeff Parsons. Republican Nancy Culp won reelection (50.9%) over Grant Taylor.  Dems Larsen, Farmer, and Lutz, and Republican Nancy Carr won the trustee seats.

Parsons, Taylor, Larsen, and Farmer only had signs at vacant corners, and Lutz didn't even have that.  Oshtemo leans dem, at least in presidential years.  Carr had the fewest signs of the four Republicans running.  Could she have won since she was the only woman of the seven running for trustee?  Dems won a 4-3 majority, compared to 4-3 Republican in 2008 (dems would have won then if they had run a full slate).

In Comstock, Republican Ann Nieuwenhuis won 51.6% to dem Randy Thompson's 40% (there were two independents).  Republican clerk Anna Goodsell was narrowly reelected, while dem Brett Padgett won the treasurer's position.  The four trustee positions were run by dems Sandra Bloomfield and David Burgess and Republicans Jeffrey Bogema and Jerry Amos.  Amos was a rare Tea party candidate to win a swing district.  Republicans won a 4-3 majority, following the dems 4-3 majority in 2008.

Lorence Wenke lost his third straight election, this time for Gull Lake school board.  Chelsea Herriman almost won a Portage School Board position.

Republicans have been doing better at campaigning, but there are still several candidates who nearly lost for lack of campaigning.  Republicans were out-fundraised in most races.  Kalamazoo County is tilting democrat, and it will take stronger efforts by the county Republican Party to fight back.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Doomsday Reading

If you want to read more about the future of America, check out the following books.

We Are Doomed by John Derbyshire
After America by Mark Steyn
Suicide of a Superpower by Pat Buchanan

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bellwether Precincts

The idea of a bellwether precinct is that whoever wins it wins the larger jurisdiction in question.  My calculations are that the following precincts are the best bellwethers for Kalamazoo County.

Comstock 6 (Gull Road area)
Cooper 3 (Riverview Drive area)
Galesburg
Kalamazoo Township 6 (Grand Prairie area) (presidential years only)
Kalamazoo Township 9 (Northwest)
Texas 3 (KVCC)
Portage 15 (state streets)
Portage 20 (W Milham)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

Mary Balkema is cleary the best choice for Kalamazoo County treasurer (Letter)

Mary Balkema is clearly the best choice for Kalamazoo County treasurer. She has been doing the job for six years, and is doing it well. She established the Kalamazoo County Land Bank and has managed our county's money wisely. She is honest, smart, and a tireless worker for our county. She has experience in business and on the Kalamazoo City Commission that adds to her effectiveness.

Balkema's opponent, Grace Borgfjord, does not have anywhere near the same financial experience. She also twice supported massive tax hikes in the Mattawan school district that were twice rejected by the voters. She is out of touch with the citizens of Kalamazoo County and she should not be put in charge of Kalamazoo County's financial resources.

MARIE POLDERMAN/Schoolcraft

Friday, November 02, 2012

Damaging Michigan

How Obamacare hurts Stryker (via Michelle Malkin):

Obama’s Layoff Bomb
And it’s an innovation issue, too. As I reported in February, Obamacare’s impending 2.3 percent medical device excise tax has already wrought havoc on the industry:

Stryker, a maker of artificial hips and knees based in Kalamazoo, Mich., is slashing 5 percent of its global workforce (an estimated 1,000 workers) this coming year to reduce costs related to Obamacare’s taxes and mandates.
The cost of illegal aliens in Michigan:

Illegal Immigrants Cost Michigan Taxpayers $1 Bil A Year

The history of Devil's Night in Detroit:

Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also…Devil’s Night In Detroit

How Competitive are 5 and 7?

Fritz Klug of the Gazette looks at how competitive Kalamazoo County Commission districts 5 and 7 are.  Unfortunately, his methodology is bad, at least in district 5.  He averages together the results of county commission elections from 2006, 2008, and 2010.  However, there were several uncontested elections in the average, which produces misleading results.

Southwest Michigan Politics: What way will the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners go?