Election 2018 | Michigan Radio
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Election 2018

dr abdul el sayed behind a desk
Abdul for Michigan

This week, Stateside is interviewing the Democratic candidates for governor ahead of their party’s 2018 State Endorsement Convention. The gubernatorial candidates will face off in the August primaries.

Abdul El-Sayed is the former director of the Detroit Health Department. His campaign has been a little bumpy - late last month, he asked a court to rule if he's eligible to run after some elections law experts claimed he might not be.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is running for governor. But first, he has to get the Republican nomination. His campaign is running a video ad that Bridge Magazine’s Truth Squad finds stretches the truth a bit. 

Let’s go straight to the video. Here’s the main point Brian Calley wants to make to voters.

“I was the driving force behind historic tax cuts and cast the deciding vote to balance Michigan’s budget. What happened? Half a million jobs have been created. We hit the lowest unemployment rate in seventeen years.”

The Truth Squad’s Ted Roelofs says Calley is taking a lot of credit in this ad.

Apart from school board seats and state Supreme Court judges, there are only four Michigan officeholders elected statewide: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. We choose major party candidates for governor in the August 7 primary.

That is, if we bother to vote, which most of us don’t. Whoever wins the gubernatorial nomination gets to choose a lieutenant governor, so we have no say there.

That leaves secretary of state and attorney general. When you think of it, for most of us, the secretary of state may be the most important position. 

Democratic candidate for governor Bill Cobbs, in turquoise polo and glasses.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

2018 is an election year in Michigan, and the primaries are already four months away.

Before the campaigns get too chaotic, Stateside decided to check in with the candidates. This week, we’ll talk to the Democratic candidates ahead of the party's 2018 State Endorsement Convention. Party leaders will endorse a candidate for attorney general, secretary of state and the State Supreme Court.

The Republican candidates will stop by later this month.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This weekend Democrats will endorse a candidate for Attorney General, a candidate for Secretary of State, and candidates for State Supreme Court. Jocelyn Benson is running unopposed for Secretary of State. Three Democrats want the job of Attorney General. Below are responses (in alphabetical order of the candidates’ last name) to issues such as consumer protection, the environment, Enbridge’s Line 5 which runs under the Straits of Mackinac, and LGBTQ civil rights. 

The fight for the Democratic nod for state attorney general has gotten nasty with less than a week to go before Michigan Democrats decide on a candidate.

Elissa Slotkin
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Elissa Slotkin was twenty-five and in her second day of graduate school in New York City the day the planes slammed into the towers, and, her life, like so many others, was changed.

“I felt I had to do something in service to my country,” she said. That led to the Central Intelligence Agency and three tours of duty in Iraq, where she served with the soldiers and eventually married Colonel Dave Moore, an Apache helicopter pilot.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Appearing today in an automotive repair shop in Southfield on the first stop of her "Fix the Damn Roads Tour," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her strategic plan for rebuilding the state's infrastructure.

Whitmer called for a bold investment in a state infrastucture bank to fix Michigan's crumbling roads, bridges and water systems.

Her plan also would build a new Soo Lock and connect more Michiganders to high-speed broadband internet.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This year, TV ad spending is spiking early among candidates running for Michigan governor.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports $1.7 million has been spent on TV ads to promote candidates in Michigan’s governor’s race. 

The network’s Craig Mauger says most of that spending was by Democrat Shri Thanedar, who’s poured $1.2 million into TV campaign ads since the January 1.

Democrats are practically giddy about their prospects for taking control of Congress. They see a blue wave on the horizon, and the next 225 days until November 6th cannot come soon enough for them.

Road in need of repair.
Peter Ito / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder says it's time to raise the federal gas tax to fix Michigan's disintegrating roads. Snyder says the state has done its part by increasing fees and fuel taxes, and local governments have come up with their own ways to increase revenue. Now, he says its the federal government's turn to step up.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether that's a realistic expectation.


Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
Michigan House Republicans

Once upon a time, there was a Republican governor of Michigan who enthusiastically endorsed his lieutenant governor as his successor. The governor was very popular.

His lieutenant governor was also respected and well-liked. He was good-looking and had an impressive background as a lawyer, FBI agent, and president of Eastern Michigan University.

dr abdul el sayed behind a desk
Abdul for Michigan

Democratic candidate for governor Abdul El-Sayed has asked a court to rule if he's eligible to run, after some elections law experts said he probably isn't. 

El-Sayed, a Michigan native, lived in New York from 2011 to 2016. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Democrats running for state Attorney General represent two wings of the party.

Dana Nessel is a self-described progressive. Pat Miles is more centrist, but he’s shifted some of his positions on issues as he’s talked to Democrats across the state.

We asked each of the candidates about asset forfeiture.

Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize property when police think it was bought with illegally gotten money such as drug money.

But, even if those people are not convicted or even charged with a crime, they have to fight in court to get their assets back.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,” a woman wearing a foppish hat with a large feather sang to a group of distracted toddlers and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette this morning in Livonia.

Schuette was there to be a guest reader during the library’s story time. The Republican candidate for governor also shook hands with a few parents and talked about the dismal state of Michigan’s third grade reading scores.

Brian Ellison
Ellison for Senate campaign

A Michigan man running as a Libertarian for U.S. Senate says he wants to raise money to buy 20 pump style shotguns for homeless individuals.

"Not only are the homeless constantly under threat from would-be criminals," says Brian Ellison, "but they are also under threat from governments at various levels that criminalize activities that homeless people rely on for survival."

Ellison says he has no fears that the guns would be misused, for example, to shoot police who are trying to move people off an illegal encampment.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It’s national Sunshine Week – a time when officials and reporters shed light on access to public information.

The legalization of marijuana in Michigan is emerging as an issue in the race for the state's next attorney general.

Attorney General candidate Patrick Miles, an Obama-appointed official who served six and a half years as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, has taken a position on legalization of marijuana in Michigan. He said last week, upon further reflection, he’s for it.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is throwing his support behind Democrat Gretchen Whitmer for governor.

Duggan says the former Lansing-area state senator will be an important “partner” for the city in Lansing. He pledged to work every day “for the next eight months” to drum up support for Whitmer, and boost voter turnout in Detroit.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The four Democrats vying become Michigan’s next governor talked public education and public sector jobs at a union-sponsored town hall in Detroit Tuesday night.

Gretchen Whitmer, Abdul El-Sayed, Shri Thanedar, and Bill Cobbs largely agreed on the issues.

All agreed that teachers are underpaid, under-valued, and that arming them is not the answer to school shootings.

Why are Michigan roads so bad? Because we don’t put enough money into fixing them.

Why is that? Because lawmakers don’t fear underfunding the state’s roads will cost them on Election Day.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This year’s mid-term congressional elections could be the most expensive ever in Michigan.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports the 30 candidates running in Michigan’s 14 congressional districts raised $14.7 million as of the end of last year.   And the money keeps rolling in.

The network’s Craig Mauger says Democrats are benefiting from donors wanting to defeat Republicans and derail President Trump’s agenda.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (left) and Special Counsel Todd Flood, along with Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton and the Flint Water Investigative Team have been investigating the Flint water crisis for most of the year
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State Attorney General Bill Schuette faced questions this week over whether the state's inquiry into Michigan State University's handling of the Larry Nassar scandal is truly independent. In a newly released letter regarding his appointment of Bill Forsyth to lead the investigation, Schuette says Forsyth will "serve under my direction and at my pleasure."

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Schuette's role in the investigation.


profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer has forced her campaign manager to resign after learning he engaged in past "inappropriate behavior" in the workplace. Keenan Pontoni joined Whitmer's campaign in August, replacing a previous campaign manager.

In a short statement yesterday, Whitmer said she received a credible report Wednesday that a number of years ago, Pontoni had "engaged in inappropriate behavior with people in the workplace." She did not elaborate.

Abdul El-Sayed’s did not have a good week. And it’s not looking like it’s going to get better any time soon.

El-Sayed has captured the imagination of progressives who think he can bring a liberal agenda to Lansing and become the nation’s first Muslim-American governor. This past weekend, at a Democratic forum for Michigan’s gubernatorial candidates in Washtenaw County, there was a throng of excited folks all waiting to talk to him.

Tamekia Ashford / Detroit Health Department

The Abdul El-Sayed campaign for governor is alleging that there are racist motivations behind questioning whether he is eligible for office because he lived outside the state and was registered to vote in another state.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Despite recent chatter concerning Democrat Abdul El-Sayed’s eligibility to run for governor of Michigan, the doctor and former Detroit health director remains confident.

“We’re 100% confident that I’m eligible to run for governor and to serve as governor of the state,” El-Sayed told host Cynthia Canty.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed wants to become Michigan's next governor. The Democrat's bid has attracted attention from around the world.

The British newspaper The Guardian has dubbed him "the next Obama."  And recent polling shows El-Sayed is the strongest competitor to Gretchen Whitmer for the slot of Democratic front-runner.

The Larry Nassar trials are over and the final round of sentencing hearings begin this week in Eaton County. More and more attention now is turning to East Lansing and how the top echelons at Michigan State University allowed an environment for this abuse to happen and continue.

And because the MSU Board of Trustees is elected statewide, the university’s handling of the situation is going to be a political issue in the 2018 elections.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

As Michigan gets ready to vote for governor in November, Bridge Magazine is also preparing. They’re gearing up for the Truth Squad to keep candidates accountable.

John Bebow, president of the Center for Michigan, which publishes Bridge Magazine, joined Stateside to discuss what’s ahead for the journalism outfit.

Listen above for the entire conversation.

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