In This Special 2012 Election Update:
- Romney Wins Catholic Vote in Michigan—National Catholic Vote to Obama
- Republicans Maintain Smaller Majority in Michigan House of Representatives
- 12 Members of Michigan Congressional Delegation Return to Washington
- 2 Michigan Supreme Court Justices Re-Elected, One Newcomer
- State Board of Education Strengthens Democratic Majority
- Proposal 5 Defeated as All Six Ballot Questions Fail
- The Michigan Legislature Returns for Lame Duck Session, House Passes Indigent Defense Reform
According to the CNN Election Center exit poll, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won a larger percentage of Catholics in the state of Michigan than President Obama, 55%-44%. Nationally, Catholics voted in favor of President Obama 50%-48%, the same margin by which the president won the overall election.
After Tuesday’s election, the Republicans remain in majority control of the House of Representatives in Lansing. Despite retaining majority status, the Republicans lost 5 seats to the Democrats after Tuesday’s election, winning 59 seats compared to their previous 64. The Democrats will have 51 seats in the 2013-2014 Legislative Session. Yesterday Representative Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) was chosen as House Minority Leader and Representative Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) maintained his position as Speaker of the House.
Twelve of the fourteen lawmakers elected on Tuesday to the U.S. Congress are returning members to Washington. The 2013-2014 Michigan congressional delegation, elected on Tuesday, is made up of 9 Republicans and 5 Democrats.
Two highly contested races were Michigan’s 1st Congressional District race between incumbent Dan Benishek (R- Crystal Falls) and former State Representative Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard) and Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District race between incumbent Justin Amish (R-Cascade Township) and former State Representative Steve Pestka (D-Grand Rapids). Congressman Benishek narrowly pulled out the win over McDowell, a re-match of the race in 2010. Congressman Amash also came out on top, defeating Pestka and the $1.1 million Pestka put of his own money into the race.
The race to replace Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia), who resigned this summer in the 11th Congressional District, produced two candidates. David Curson (D- Belleville) will briefly fill McCotter’s vacancy during the lame duck session, and Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford) will take over the seat in January 2013.
Incumbent judges Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra were re-elected to the Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday. The third justice joining the court will be Bridget McCormack, a former University of Michigan law professor. Both Markman and McCormack won eight year terms, and Zahra was elected to serve the two year partial term of former justice Maura Corrigan, who left the court to become the head of the Michigan Department of Human Services. While the race was under the non partisan section of the ballot, candidates were nominated by political parties (Markman and Zahra by the Republican Party, McCormack by the Democratic Party).With this election, the Republican-nominated justices maintain a 4-3 majority on the court.
After the results were tallied, the Democrats strengthened their majority as voters added two new Democratic members to the State Board of Education: Michelle Fecteau, an official with the American Federation of Teachers, and Lupe Ramos-Montigny, a former Grand Rapids teacher and administrator. With Fecteau and Ramos-Montigny, the majority improves to 6-2. The State Board of Education largely plays an advisory role in recommending public education policy changes to the Michigan Legislature.
Voters repealed PA 4 of 2011, the Emergency Manager Law, and rejected five proposed constitutional amendments, three of which were primarily supported by labor unions in the state and two others supported by a Detroit-area billionaire. Michigan Catholic Conference recommended a “no” vote on Proposal 5, the proposal which would have required 2/3 of the State Senate and House to agree to any tax increase. The proposal would have allowed 13 senators to decide tax policy for the state of Michigan, thus silencing the voices of millions of Michigan citizens who sent representatives to Lansing. Thank you to all who voted to defeat this proposal.
If you would like to take a closer look on the votes by county for any of the proposals or the above–mentioned races, visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s website and click on “Elections in Michigan.”
The Michigan Legislature is returning for a few days in November and a few weeks in December to carry out what will be a busy lame duck session. Before new members begin in January, the current members will be taking up many issues for a vote. Yesterday the Michigan House of Representatives approved indigent defense legislation, House Bill 5804, with a bipartisan 71-36 vote. The bill creates the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, which would provide minimum standards for indigent defense across the state. MCC supported the bill because every person, regardless of their income, should have equal representation under the law. Unfortunately, the current process is broken, underfunded and is failing to constitutionally protect indigent persons who have been accused of a crime. MCC testified for its support in the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year. From here the bill will go to a Senate committee for further consideration.
Another issue MCC is monitoring on the Senate floor during this lame duck session is HB 5711, which is legislation that would better protect the health and safety of Michigan women who choose the path of abortion. Only 4 out of Michigan’s 32 abortion clinics are currently licensed and inspected by state health officials. Look for further updates on this and other legislation in the coming weeks.
While MCC spoke of the importance of exercising faithful citizenship this election, faithful citizenship doesn’t just stop with your vote. As Catholics, we must strive every day to live out our values and take a stand for policies that will promote the common good. Through the Legislative Advocacy Network, MCC will keep you informed about such policies at the State Capitol and provide avenues for you to take part in our advocacy. Thank you all for your support.