Detroit Free Press Staff
1. A BLUE STATE, AGAIN: For the sixth presidential election in a row, Michigan went for the Democratic presidential candidate. President Barack Obama won the state by 9 percentage points, though that’s 7 points less than in 2008. He won Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Romney, the son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney, did win his former home precinct in Bloomfield Hills, 766-394.
• BREAKDOWN: Graphic: Breakdown of Obama’s re-election
2. BUT STILL A RED STATE: The state’s congressional delegation will remain decidedly red. U.S. Rep. Gary Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, survived an election night scare and beat former state Rep. Gary McDowell by about 2,300 votes in the state’s most expensive and competitive congressional race. All the state’s incumbent congressmen easily won re-election. But Santa Claus — aka reindeer farmer and Kris Kringle impersonator Kerry Bentivolio of Milford — has to wait until after Christmas to claim his seat in Congress. He won the two-year term over Democrat Dr. Syed Taj of Canton, but lost to Democrat David Curson of Belleville to fill the remainder of former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s term. McCotter, a Livonia Republican, quit his congressional seat in July amid a nominating-petition scandal.
3. A CHANGING OAKLAND: Oakland County continues its shift to the left, at least in presidential elections, with decisive advantages for Obama and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (who easily won a third term over former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland). Republicans L. Brooks Patterson remains county executive and Michael Bouchard as sheriff, but all other countywide offices were won by Democrats, including incumbent Treasurer Andy Meisner and Prosecutor Jessica Cooper. Newcomers are Rep. Lisa Brown of West Bloomfield, who beat Republican Bill Bullard for clerk, and county Commissioner Jim Nash of Farmington Hills, who takes Republican John McCullough’s job as water resources commissioner. Republicans expanded their Oakland advantage in the state House delegation and held onto a majority on the County Commission.
4. SHE’S OUT: Foes of Troy Mayor Janice Daniels successfully recalled the controversial tea party-backed politician. In her first year in office, she ticked off both the business community — with her efforts to derail a federally funded transit center in the city — and social progressives with several anti-gay comments. She lost her job by fewer than 2,000 votes.
5. MONEY TALKS? Not so much if you’re Manuel (Matty) Moroun, who owns the Ambassador Bridge and spent more than $33 million on passing Proposal 6, which was aimed at blocking a new publicly owned bridge that would have competed with his crossing. Moroun’s opposition spent only about $3 million. Proposal 6 lost, 59%-41%. In another pricey contest, a pair of shadowy political action committees dumped $2.2 million into a race to unseat two incumbent Oakland County Circuit Court judges and replace them with Deb Carley and Bill Rolliston. Didn’t work.
6. TEA TIME: Tea party adherents had notable wins Tuesday: Benishek and U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, were re-elected, and there also were newcomers Bentivolio and Martin Howrylak of Troy in the state House. GOP nominees with tea party backing had less success running for state education posts.
7. A FIRST: In a nod to diversity, Republican Klint Kesto, an assistant Wayne County prosecutor from Commerce Township, became the first Chaldean elected to the state House.
8. PASS IT, THEN PASS IT AROUND: Detroit voters passed a measure to allow residents to possess and use a small amount of marijuana for recreational use. City officials argued that the proposal conflicts with state and federal law, but proponents argued that police should concentrate on murders and mayhem, not weed.
9. DON’T MESS WITH THE CONSTITUTION: Voters soundly rejected five proposals to amend the state’s sacred document on everything from increasing the renewable energy mandate to enshrining collective bargaining to a new international bridge to tax policy.
10. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: The emergency manager law is gone. It was close, but voters repealed the 2011 law that allowed the state to appoint managers to run cities and school districts that are in deep financial distress. The ball’s back in the Legislature’s court.