Most of the contests were on the Republican side. There was one on the democrat side. I was way off here. I don't follow the dems much in the primary because there's enough on my own side to watch.
D - Primary - Most expect Ingham County treasurer Eric Schertzing to win because he's an elected official. That's very possible, but most people can't name their county treasurer. It's a low-key position. The most active candidate I've seen on the campaign trail is Jeffrey Hank. I wouldn't count out Susan Grettenberger however for "identity politics" reasons as this IS a dem primary which worships identity politics. I haven't been following the dem primary that closely yet. If I had to predict a winner, I'll go with Jeffrey Hank in a mild upset since I've seen more from his campaign than others.
The actual results were:
Grettenberger - 2522
Schertzing - 1113
Darga - 806
Hank - 675
I thought Hank seemed like the most active candidate in the county. Schertzing won overall due to his support in Ingham County. I wouldn't have been that shocked if Grettenberger won, simply because democrats are obsessed with identity politics.
In the 8th District, Mike Bishop won rather easily over Tom McMillin. That's not a surprise from what I've seen. He had the support of the NRA (regardless of Natl Assoc of Gun Rights hype, they are AA compared to Major League), Mike Rogers, and the better absentee and ground game including doors. This was mostly across the board. The only places McMillin won were these:
Genoa Twp 10 (Non AV)
Genoa Twp 12 (Non AV, Overall)
Green Oak 4 (AV)
Green Oak 9 (non AV)
Hartland 4 (non AV, overall)
Howell Twp 1 (Non AV, tied AV, overall)
Howell Twp 2 (Non AV, Overall)
Marion Twp 4 (Non AV)
Putnam Twp 1 (Non AV)
Tied in Tyrone Twp 1 Non AV
Tyrone Twp 2 (Non AV, Tied AV, Overall)
Tyrone Twp 3 (Non AV, Overall)
Tyrone Twp 4 (AV, Overall)
Tyrone Township is probably the township that has moved the furthest to the right in the last 20 years. It voted for Debbie Stabenow in 1998 overall. It's now the major base for the Tea Party vote in Livingston County. I don't think there's much Flint influence there anymore. I'm surprised McMillin didn't do as well in Hartland which also a strong tea party area, although to a slightly lesser extent. Howell Twp also has strong tea party pockets, and it showed in the votes. While there are some tea party pockets of strength outside of those areas, they aren't as dominant as there are a very large number of old school conservate Republicans that aren't as loud, but make their presence felt when it is voting time.
There were two primaries for open seats. State Rep. One was the 42nd race that wasn't even close. Lana Theis won in a blowout with 49.80% Rich Perlberg was a distant 2nd with 26.27%, followed by Dale Rogers and Nick Fiani with 13.28% and 11.18%.
I was quite surprised with Nick's results. I thought he would do much better, especially in the Brighton area. I think the Right to Life endorsement of Lana hurt him badly. Rich Perlberg's results are about what I expected, as was Dale Rogers (who had some strength in Green Oak, Hamburg, and Putnam). I thought Lana would win, but not by the margin she won by. Lana won all precincts except the following:
Brighton City 1 (Non AV, Overall) - Rich Perlberg
Brighton City 2 (Non AV) - Rich Perlberg (Lana won overall)
Brighton City 3 (Non AV, Overall) - Rich Perlberg
Genoa Twp 4 (AV) - Rich Perlberg (Lana won overall)
Green Oak 2 (AV) - Rich Perlberg (Lana won overall)
Green Oak 7 (AV) - Nick (Lana won overall)
Hamburg 1 (AV) - Rich Perlberg (Lana won overall)
AFP is getting a lot of credit (or blame) and had a lot of mailings out for Lana. I think they were a factor, but a smaller one than other forces. The Livingston County Press and Argus is not the most popular news organization among conservatives. They are a quite liberal paper which endorsed Obama. Rich Perlberg - rightly or wrongly - got the blame for the paper's editorial stance. He also stated he was in his words "pro-choice" and supported an increase in the gas tax. Those comments reinforced the doubts many activists had regarding the newspaper. A large number of Republican voters would not vote for him under any circumstances after that, regardless of the endorsements of Bill Rogers, Carol Griffith, and Maggie Jones. They thought that he was not a republican based on his statements in the candidate forums along with his editorials (oftentimes snarky) in the paper. Was he a democrat? Was he a liberal? Were the paper editorials his true feelings or a needling to get people to read the paper? That was something we didn't know the answer to. That doesn't fly in the townships around Brighton.
This left an open for both fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. Lana Theis was running since last year. She raised a lot of money, knocked on a large number of doors (including rural areas), got the right to life endorsement, had AFP's support, the tea party's support, and a majority of the republican establishment supporting her (with Nick getting his share as well of the latter). The rest liked Nick for the most part, but followed RTL in supporting Lana for various reasons. Nick clicked the $1000 reporting waiver in 2013, which raised doubts about him raising enough money to be competitive.
There's hard feelings about the Right to Life endorsement and how it happened. Nick Fiani is also pro-life. With RTL not supporting him or even mentioning him as pro-life, some thought he was pro-choice which understandably bothered him a great deal. On the same note, RTL didn't want Rich Perlberg to win. That's a big reason why Nick lost to the extent that he did. Dale Rogers didn't like that Rich Perlberg got the MEA endorsement as he was a teacher. He got some support in the Southern tier of the townships. Putnam Township was his best area, and also has a higher number of teachers. I think some of the MEA Republicans (about 1/3 of MEA members) and MEA independents voted for Dale over Perlberg.
Lana had her based united and out to the polls and made what was supposed to be a possibly competitive race turn into a blowout. Timothy Johnson was the unopposed democrat. Speaking of Timothy Johnson, maybe us 42nd district folks can take some of his advice. On his site, he mentions as reasons for running.
1. Tired of being told men rule.
2. Tired of being told white men rule.
3. Tired of being told old white men rule.
That leaves Johnson out. Well, there's one person running who is not an "old white man", that that's Lana Theis.
In the 47th District, it was a close race as expected.
Vaupel - 41.83% - 3917
Day - 36.69% - 3436
Campbell - 17.68% - 1656
Melton - 2.93% - 274
Ring - 0.78% - 73 (Ring dropped out)
Some, especially out of county pundits who do not understand Livingston County, are saying crossover votes from dems to stop made the difference. I think that's absolute horsecrap. There was probably some in Howell City (particularly precinct 2 and to a lesser extent 1), but what won for Vaupel was a strong GOTV operation on the west side of the county. Vaupel got Joe Hune numbers out of Handy Township. He got 50% in Cohoctah, 64% in Conway, 73% in Handy Twp, and 62% in Iosco Twp. It was the Joe Hune method of winning. Vaupel won Howell by 47 votes. He won Handy Township by over 400 votes. These are not unheard of results in Livingston County primaries. The west side votes in a block.
I thought Phil Campbell would have done better than he did. He was hurt by geography and didn't have the campaign spending to keep up with Vaupel or AFP. He ran a good race with will be a formidable candidate in the future. Harold's a nice guy, but didn't have a chance.
Some, in particular outside the county interests tried to paint Vaupel as a RINO. It didn't fly. Some did a fake robocall (and did the same in Ottawa County) that supposedly pushed for crossover voters. That was from an organization that doesn't exist and was trying to hurt Vaupel. It didn't fly. Why? Because these voters, particularly in the west side of the county, know Vaupel, as they know Cindy Denby and Joe Hune. Dr Hank Vaupel is a well known mainstream conservative who is solid on the issues.
That's not to disparage the other candidates. Wendy Day, with the assistance of a large amount of money in mailings and billboards from AFP, ran a strong campaign of her own. Wendy took every precinct (overall combined AV and Day of voting) east of Fisk and Fisher Roads. That's the dividing line between Oceola and Howell Twp. Vaupel took almost every precinct west of that line with the exception of Howell Twp 3(near Wendy's home), Marion Twp 2 (Her home), Marion Twp 4, and Howell City 3 (Phil Campbell won his home precinct). Vaupel took the AV's in Deerfield 2 (lost overall), day of voting in Hartland 5 (lost overall), and day of voting in Oceola 1.
Wendy's best area was Tyrone Township. That's the tea party stronghold, which gave her 52%. She also won Hartland (47%), Oceola (45%), and Deerfield Townships (44%). This was a geography race where the west side beat the northeast side of the county. Vaupel now faces Jordan Genso.
In the county commission primaries, I was almost completely caught offguard by the Steve Williams vs Steven Hart race. I didn't see a lot from Hart, but he almost won. He only won three precincts, but that was enough to make this a 53 vote race. I wasn't caught off guard by the Doug Helzerman vs Ron Van Houten race. Helzerman is an elected official from the Fowlerville area. This was a geographic based race. Helzerman won north of Mason Rd. Van Houten won south of Mason Rd. Iosco Twp saved Van Houten. He won by 24 votes overall, and won Iosco by 124.
Onward to the general election. We can keep Livingston County moving in the right direction, or we can let it turn into Wayne County and Ficanoland by electing democrats. The latter is unacceptable.