I saw the brutal state results as well as results from our own county. Overall, we underperformed by about 5-6%, and dems overperformed by about 5-6%. The 5-6% cost us the house. Based on the county results, the worst hit was among socially conservative and economic moderate independents.
I haven't seen the areas within the county outside of Livingston. I'll get to there later.
We lost areas we had no business losing, and got massacured in the swing areas outstate. The UP counties were often 60% democrat. The Northern Lower Penninsula also went democrat for the mostpart outside of the 4 or 5 Republican strongholds up here. Even those areas were narrow. Instead of their normal 58-62% GOP numbers, they were down to 50%-53% (Grand Traverse, Emmett, Antrim) Even some of the strong leaners flipped. Leelanau County flipped. Crawford County (Grayling) flipped.
The thumb was another disaster. The Conservative Populists flipped. Huron was split 50/50, as was St Clair County. Lapeer should be another Livingston County, but dropped to 52%. Tuscola flipped. Sainilac's still Republican (outside of Espinoza), but usually goes over 60% - it was 56%. That's not good enough.
Midland went Democrat for the first time since probably Bill Lucas. I'm not sure it was the city or rural areas which hurt us more. Saginaw and Bay are usually semi-close, but broke 60% democrat. Bush's 04 gains in Genesee County were eroded as well. 66% Democrat - 6% ahead of the recent numbers. Saginaw and Bay county are democrat, but not liberal. They prefer moderate democrats there like Jim Barcia. Socially conservative and populist.
Central and West Michigan's rural areas severely whipped us as well. Barry County was a narrow win. That's a 60% county most years. Ionia and Gratiot Counties were defeats. Clinton and Eaton Counties are tougher in off-years, but were disasters for us this year going 54% and 58% for Granholm. State workers are a part of that, but not all of it. Shiawassee was a disaster going 57% for Granholm. Bush won all three of those counties in a big way.
Anyone seriously contesting Michigan or recruiting a candidate needs to ask themselves a few things before telling the candidate to run. Can he win in places like Grayling, Cheboygan, St Ignace, Newberry, Escanaba, Alpena, Clare, Gladwin, and Roscommon. Those areas are conservative - but not necessarily republican. Can they win in Shiawassee County and get Clinton and Eaton to come home? Can they win in the thumb.
These are some of the most independent voting areas around. They are conservative, but not republican. Granholm won here. Bush won here. Stupak won here. Spence Abraham won here. Stabenow won here. A lot of areas there are locally democrat/republican, but split their tickets higher up. They are intelligent voters and it takes more than talking points to earn their vote.
Elitism = defeat. The 2004 attitude among democrats killed them here. How often did you hear them complain about people "voting against their best interest." No they didn't. They didn't then. They didn't in 2006 when they sent us a message either. We can not take them for granted.
If I was running a candidate up there, I'd find a good speaker with a working class background, is socially moderate/conservative with a libertarian streak, is pro-2a and pro-life, is fiscally responsible, is tied to small business, but isn't 100% tied to big business. Most importantly, he has to be REAL on those issues and not a phony, nor even have the appearance of a phony by taking some bad advice by Washington 'consultants'. Until next season, I think our party should spend a lot of time up there and simply listen to the concerns there.
This should work more than just Up North. Those same values that will win us Up North and in these rural areas work in a couple of other key counties in Southeast Michigan. One is Monroe County. The other is the epidomy of a swing county - Macomb County.
To sum it up into one sentence - we need to win back the "Reagan Democrats."