Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016 Analysis: Kalamazoo

Donald Trump won Michigan by winning big margins among white working class voters.  That didn't help Republicans in Kalamazoo County, which has a highly educated populace.

Trump got 40.4% versus Clinton's 53.2%.  That's worse than Mitt Romney's 42.9%, which was pretty bad itself.  Trump did well in many rural townships, but got only 40% in Oshtemo, 33% in K Township, 23% in Kalamazoo, and 46% in Portage.  Trump won only three county commission districts (6, 7, and 8 in the east) and won only four precincts in Portage.  That hurt Republicans downticket.

Out of 128233 votes, Ds got 33218 straight ticket votes, and Rs got 25159.  Straight ticket votes likely hurt Republicans, though we cannot know what voters would have done in its absence.

Fred Upton got 49.4% to Paul Clements' 44.8%.  That's a slight improvement on his 50-46 victory in 2014.  "Libertarian" Lorence Wenke got 5.7%, racking up his fifth straight loss.

Ds won the education board races in Kalamazoo by narrower margins with one exception.  Ron Weiser squeaked into the second spot for U of M board.

Jon Hoadley was reelected 69-25.  Brandt Iden was reelected 49.4-44.7 in a district where Trump got 47.7% (2 party).  David Maturen got 58.6% in the Kalamazoo portion of his district.  Beth Griffin got 56% in the Kalamazoo portion of her district.

All incumbent countywide officials were reelected.  The results are:
Prosecutor: 38-62  Don Smith lost to Jeff Getting.
Sheriff: 38-62 Jeff Heppler lost to Richard Fuller.
Clerk: 52.2-47.8  Tim Snow defeated John Taylor.  2012 was even closer.
Treasurer: 55-45  Mary Balkema defeated Sunny Sahu
Pat Crowley (D drain commissioner) and Gary Hahn (R surveyor) were unopposed.  Voters evidently didn't see much reason to toss any incumbents.  Republicans need to do a better job publicizing the missteps of the D incumbents.

County commission results:
1. 19-81 Salvano loses to Moore.
2. 28-72 Fawley loses to Wordelman
3. 30-70 Coss loses to Hall
4. Seals unopposed
5. 44-56 Dillon loses to Rogers
6. Kendall got 77% against a libertarian.
7. 57-43 Tuinier defeats Clark
8. Gisler unopposed
9. 55-45 Shugars defeats Adams
10. 49.8-50.2 Whitaker loses to Quinn.  Inexcusable.
11. 52.5-47.5 McGraw defeats Foster.  Too close for comfort.
Unfortunately, Republicans will again be in the minority on the county commission.  Trump lost Portage, and R results in Portage were weak.

In Comstock Township, where Trump won 52% (2 party), Sandra Bloomfield lost a squeaker with 49.7% to former trustee Randy Thompson.  Michelle Mohney won 62% in the clerk race.  Republicans Amos, McIver, and Austin won for trustee along with D Pratt.

In Oshtemo Township, where Trump won 40% (2 party), John Nieuwenhuis lost 42-58 against Libby Heiny-Cogswell.  Solarek lost to Farmer 43-57 for clerk.  Zondervan lost to Culp 40-60.  Ds Everett (61%), Bushouse (58%), Ford (54%), and Hudok (49.6%) beat Rs Carr (49.3%), Corakis (44%), Lefler (42%), and Clem (42%).  The former Republicans Everett and Bushouse did best.  The R candidates tried to get the word out about the Ds mismanagement, but the top of the ticket was too much to overcome.  The preservation of straight ticket voting likely hurt Rs here.

It is still possible for Kalamazoo candidates to overcome the top of the ticket, but it takes a high quality campaign.  Republicans need to do a better job publicizing the misdeeds of local democrats and explaining the consequences of people's votes in local elections.  It may help if straight ticket voting is eventually eliminated.

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