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Election analysis: Schuette's message fails to connect, Stabenow's Senate win unimpressive

Voting sign.
flickr user justgrimes
On Tuesday, Michigan voters elected Democrats in the races for governor and the U.S. Senate, and approved all three statewide ballot proposals.

The midterm election is over. In Michigan, it was a big night for Democrats in two of the top races in the state.

Zach Gorchow is the editor of Gongwer News Service. He spoke with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about those races and three statewide ballot proposals.

On Democrat Gretchen Whitmer's victory over Republican Bill Schuette in the race for governor:

“Gretchen Whitmer ran a very disciplined campaign based on what she called dinner table issues that people could really get their arms around," Gorchow said. "Fix the damn roads, healthcare, infrastructure.”

On Democrat Debbie Stabenow beating Republican John James to retain her U.S. Senate seat:

“This wasn’t a particularly impressive win," Gorchow said. "We’re used to seeing Debbie Stabenow demolish her opposition and this time she just kind of hung back and ran out the clock.”

On the three statewide ballot proposals: 

Voters approved all three of the statewide ballot proposals. Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Michigan. Proposal 2 will create an independent commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps. Voters also passed a measure to make voting easier. The measure includes no-reason absentee voting and straight-ticket voting.

“There just wasn’t enough of a concerted opposition campaign to any of these proposals," Gorchow said. "If you want to defeat a proposal, you get out there on television in September and just bury it, and drive up the negatives on it right away. And nothing really congealed until very late and things were already pretty much set in place.”

Doug Tribou joined the Michigan Public staff as the host of Morning Edition in 2016. Doug first moved to Michigan in 2015 when he was awarded a Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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