Sunday, May 08, 2005

Berrien County

Berrien County:
Location – Southwestern Michigan
Population – 162,453 (2000 Census)
Demographics – 79.69% White, 15.93% Black, .43% American Indian, 1.14% Asian, 1.14% Some other Race, 1.64% Two or more races, 3.01% Hispanic or Latino(of any race)
County Seat – St. Joseph (pop 8789)

Berrien County is the Southwestern most county in Michigan. It’s about an hour away from Chicago, and borders South Bend, Indiana as well. The main cities are Niles, and the twin cities of Benton Harbor and St Joseph. It’s a solid GOP county overall, with a mini-democrat stronghold of Benton Harbor.

Government Officials Representing area:
Congressman – Fred Upton (R) – 6th District
State Senator – Ron Jelinek (R) – 21st District
State Representatives:
78th District – Neil Nitz (R) - Baroda Township, Berrien Township, Buchanan, Buchanan Township, Chikaming Township, Galien Township, New Buffalo, New Buffalo Township, Niles, Niles Township, Oronoko Township, Pipestone Township, Three Oaks Township, and Weesaw Township.
79th District – John M. Proos IV (R) - Bainbridge Township, Benton Harbor, Benton Township, Bridgman, Coloma, Coloma Township. Hagar Township, Lake Township, Lincoln Township, Royalton Township, Sodus Township, St Joseph, St Joseph Township, Watervliet, Watervliet Township.

1998 Results Countywide:(Winners overall in bold)
Governor - John Engler (R) - 73.47%, Geoff Fieger (D) – 26.53%
Secretary of State - Candice Miller (R) – 72.08%, Mary Lou Parks (D) – 26.45%
Attorney General - John Smietanka (R) – 65.60%, Jennifer Granholm (D) – 34.40%
Congress (6th District) – Fred Upton (R) – 74.71%, Clarence Annan (D) – 23.34%
State Senator (21st District) – Harry Gast (R) – 68.66%, David DeRuiter (D) – 29.02%
State Representatives:
78th District – Ron Jelinek (R) – 72.53%, Dennis Casto (D) - 25.44%
79th District – Charles LaSata (R) – 67.56%, Tony Wiatrowski (D) – 29.37%

2000 Results Countywide
US Senate – Spence Abraham (R) – 59.09%, Debbie Stabenow (D) – 38.74%
Congress (6th District) – Fred Upton (R) – 69.49%, James Bupp (D) – 27.66%
State Representatives:
78th District – Ron Jelinek (R) – 69.92%, Dennis Casto (D) – 30.08%
79th District – Charles LaSata (R) – 62.87%, Curtis Young (D) – 35.69%

2002 Results Countywide
Governor – Dick Posthumus (R) – 57.24%, Jennifer Granholm (D) – 41.85%
Secretary of State - Terri Lynn Land (R) – 63.02%, Butch Hollowell (D) – 35.01%
Attorney General – Mike Cox (R) – 59.51%, Gary Peters (D) – 38.53%
US Senate - Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski (R) – 52.53%, Carl Levin (D) – 46.09%
Congress (6th District) – Fred Upton (R) – 70.40%, Gary C Giguere (D) – 27.98%
State Senate (21st District) – Ron Jelinek (R) – 68.74%, Art Toy (D) – 31.26%
State Representatives:
78th District – Neil Nitz (R) – 59.81%, Michael Gordon (D) – 41.19%
79th District – Charles LaSata (R) – 69.26%, Ruthie Haralson (D) – 30.74%

2004 Results Countywide
Congress:
6th District – Fred Upton (R) – 67.01%, Scott Elliot (D) – 30.97%
State Representatives:
78th District – Neil Nitz (R) – 59.42%, Michael Gordon (D) – 40.58%
79th District – John M Proos IV (R) – 62.68%, Princella Tobias (D) – 37.32

2000, 2004 Presidential Results
First number Bush, Second number Democrat
Areas that flipped are in Bold.

BERRIEN COUNTY
2000 - Bush – 35689 (54.70%), Gore – 28152 (43.15%)
2004 – Bush – 41076 (55.01%), Kerry – 32846 (43.99%)

Bainbridge Township
2000 - 942 (70.46%), 366 (27.37%)
2004 – 1016 (71.30%), 394 (27.65%)

Baroda Township
2000 - 796 (63.22%), 437 (34.71%)
2004 – 969 (66.46%), 474 (32.51%)

Benton Harbor City
2000 - 81 (3.18%), 2461 (96.47%) – That’s more democat than Detroit.
2004 – 161 (4.26%), 3600 (95.29%)

Benton Township
2000 - 1558 (31.14%) , 3380 (67.56%)
2004 – 1739 (29.48%), 4123 (69.89%)

Berrien Township
2000 - 1293 (65.94%), 620 (31.62%)
2004 – 1552 (67.89%), 708 (30.97%)

Bertran township
2000 - 614 (57.12%), 446 (41.49%)
2004 – 799 (58.88%), 541 (39.87%)

Bridgman Township
2000 - 688 (62.43%), 389 (35.30%)
2004 – 772 (63.49%), 427 (35.12%)
Buchanan City
2000 - 813 (47.27%), 864 (50.23%)
2004 – 1005 (50.89%), 958 (48.51%)

Buchanan Township
2000 - 828 (56.29%), 612 (41.60%)
2004 – 1014 (57.03%), 711 (41.68%)

Chikaming Township
2000 - 1043 (57.18%), 714 (39.14%)
2004 – 1124 (56.68%), 842 (42.46%)

Coloma City
2000 - 359 (58.66%), 245 (40.03%)
2004 – 444 (58.42%), 308 (40.53%)

Coloma township
2000 - 1371 (63.18%), 758 (34.93%)
2004 – 1573 (64.89%), 829 (34.20%)

Galien Township
2000 - 302 (49.27%), 296 (48.29%)
2004 – 376 (52.15%), 334 (46.32%)

Hagar Township
2000 - 954 (58.78%), 632 (38.94%)
2004 – 1146 (62.18%), 671 (36.41%)

Lake Township
2000 - 990 (66.44%), 469 (31.48%)
2004 – 1098 (63.95%), 594 (34.60%)

Lincoln Township
2000 - 4876 (66.83%), 2295 (31.46%)
2004 – 5646 (68.79%), 2474 (30.14%)

New Buffalo City
2000 - 468 (49.42%), 452 (47.73%)
2004 – 474 (50.37%), 451 (47.93%)

New Buffalo Township
2000 - 616 (49.36%), 590 (47.28%)
2004 – 624 (47.74%), 675 (51.64%)

Niles City
2000 - 1760 (43.50%), 2178 (53.83%)
2004 – 2145 (46.49%), 2426 (52.58%)

Niles Township
2000 – 2538 (51.49%), 2279 (46.24%)
2004 – 3210 (53.77%), 2705 (45.31%)

Oronoko Township
2000 - 1912 (58.92%), 1261 (38.86%)
2004 – 2057 (59.97%), 1310 (38.19%)

Pipestone Township
2000 - 629 (65.79%), 303 (31.69%)
2004 – 724 (67.85%), 330 (30.93%)

Royalton Township
2000 - 1481 (72.03%), 536 (26.07%)
2004 – 1717 (71.54%), 661 (27.54%)

Sodus Township
2000 - 528 (60.55%), 327 (37.50%)
2004 – 566 (61.32%), 344 (37.27%)

St Joseph City
2000 - 2417 (59.47%), 1549 (38.12%)
2004 – 2360 (57.88%), 1865 (41.11%)

St Joseph Township
2000 - 3479 (60.98%), 2112 (37.02%)
2004 – 3808 (61.61%), 2326 (37.63%)

Three Oaks Township
2000 - 762 (56.82%), 530 (39.52%)
2004 – 826 (58.25%), 583 (41.11%)

Watervliet City
2000 - 376 (58.20%), 254 (39.32%)
2004 – 418 (60.06%), 270 (38.79%)

Watervliet Township
2000 - 709 (58.07%), 473 (38.74%)
2004 – 826 (61.32%), 513 (38.08%)

Weesaw Township
2000 - 506 (59.04%), 324 (37.81%)
2004 – 617 (61.33%), 369 (36.63%)

Redistricting slightly impacted Berrien County in the State legislature districts, but hardly changed the other districts. Proos has more of Berrien County in his district, while Nitz’s Niles based district was expanded.

Berrien County’s Democrat stronghold is Benton Harbor which is 90% black. Benton Township is over 60% black. Those are the two democrat strongholds, but are not big enough to impact a state representative race. Niles leans democrat in statewide races, but the GOP can be competitive there. New Buffalo and Buchanan are competitive. The rest of the district is strongly Republican, especially in the townships near St. Joseph.

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