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Whitmer wins governor's race

Democratic former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer will be Michigan's next governor with a victory over Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Whitmer will be the second woman elected as Michigan governor.

The Democrat formerly served in the Michigan state Senate, representing the 23rd district from 2006 to 2015. During the final four years of her time in the state Senate, she served as minority leader and did not seek re-election in 2014. Before her time in the Senate, she served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2001-06.

Whitmer said on the campaign trail that Michigan "deserves better" from the next governor, including improved schools, healthier drinking water and her trademark "fix the damn roads."

She also emphasized her past vote to expand Medicaid to more than 600,000 lower-income adults under the federal health care law.

The conservative Schuette faced criticism for challenging the health law in court and defending the state's gay marriage ban against a lawsuit. He was backed by President Donald Trump in the state Trump won in 2016 - but not by the moderate Snyder.

Polling by the Associated Press indicated voters ages 45 and older appeared to prefer Whitmer.

Black voters favored Whitmer, and Hispanic voters were split. White voters overall were divided in their support over Schuette and Whitmer.

Whites without a college degree were divided in their support over Schuette and Whitmer. On the other hand, white college graduates modestly supported Whitmer.

Gov. Snyder issued a statement on Whitmer's win:

“Sue and I congratulate governor-elect Whitmer and her family as they celebrate this moment in Michigan’s history. Michigan’s future has never been brighter. We have the momentum to continue on this path forward to make our state an even better place to live, work, and play for generations to come. “When I became governor eight years ago, Michigan needed more than just politics as usual—we needed a reinvention. I became governor because I wanted to help put the state that I love on a path toward a better tomorrow. I wanted to create an environment where my kids could stay to learn, work, and raise their own families—right here in Michigan. “We must never turn back to the Lost Decade. Michigan’s reinvention is undeniable, and it has reached every region of our state. Our unemployment rate is at record lows. The private sector has created more than half a million new jobs. Companies around the globe are choosing to invest and grow in our state. Michigan is firmly positioned as a global leader in the newest wave of mobility and autonomous vehicle technology. But we cannot become content or complacent. We must keep our foot on the gas, because our future depends on it. “I look forward to working with governor-elect Whitmer and her team to ensure a smooth transition into the Executive Office. My team is committed to doing everything we can to help position this new administration to hit the ground running and continue serving Michiganders."

“Governor-elect Whitmer’s success means Michigan’s success. I urge all Michiganders to join me in committing to a spirit of civility, unity, collaboration, and teamwork to ensure Michigan continues on the right path toward our promising future.”

Vincent Duffy has been news director at Michigan Public since May 2007.
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