The commercials are over, the campaigning is done and the yard signs are soon to come down. Election Day has come and gone. What an exhilarating opportunity Michiganders and all persons across the country are given every two years to participate in the democratic process! In the Catholic tradition, “Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” In the weeks leading up to the election, Michigan Catholic Conference urged Catholics to form their conscience based on the principles of Catholic social teaching, and to evaluate candidates through the lens of faith. Now that all votes have been cast and the results are in, here is how state government and Michigan’s representation in Congress will look once the new legislative session begins next year:
United States Senate
Congressman Gary Peters defeated former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land 55% to 41%. Along with Senator Debbie Stabenow, who was not up for re-election this year, Democrats will continue to hold both Michigan seats in the United States Senate.
Republicans will maintain a 9–5 advantage in Michigan’s congressional delegation. Newcomers to the Republican side include State Senator John Moolenaar, former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, and attorney David Trott. Democratic newcomers include former Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell, wife of former congressman John Dingell.
State Level Executive Offices
- Governor: Republican incumbent Rick Snyder defeated former congressman Mark Schauer 51% to 47%. Governor Snyder, along with Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, will lead Michigan for the next four years.
- Attorney General: Republican incumbent Bill Schuette defeated Democratic candidate Mark Totten 52% to 44% for a second term as the state’s top law enforcement official.
- Secretary of State: Republican incumbent Ruth Johnson defeated Democratic challenger Godfrey Dillard 53% to 43% for a second and final term.
Michigan Supreme Court
- With 62% of the vote, Justice David Viviano will complete a partial term on the Court after being appointed by Governor Snyder in 2013 to fill a seat vacated by a former justice who left the bench.
- Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra (32%) and attorney Richard Bernstein (29%) collected the most votes in a field of five candidates to fill eight-year terms on the Court.
- Republican-endorsed candidates will continue to hold a 5–2 advantage on the state’s highest court.
In the State Senate, Republicans picked up an extra seat to widen their supermajority status in the Michigan Legislature’s upper chamber. With a 27–11 advantage, Republicans will hold the largest Senate majority the state has witnessed since 1954. In the House of Representatives, Republicans picked up four additional seats to increase their majority to 63 seats, compared to the Democrats’ 47. In the coming days, both parties will hold leadership elections to decide who will lead their respective caucuses. The next Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House will both be new to the position as term limits will boot sitting lawmakers from their current seats.
State Board of Education
In an otherwise difficult day for Democrats, the party claimed all available seats for a 6–2 advantage on the Board. Democrats also won open seats for the University of Michigan Board of Regents, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, and the Wayne State Board of Governors. The governing boards of the three major state universities are decided at the statewide ballot.
The Michigan Legislature will now move into “Lame Duck,” which refers to the time period between the General Election and the end of the legislative session. This period could either be highly active or include a low-level of legislative activity, depending on the quantity of measures that leadership cares to address before the end of the session. Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to monitor its advocacy agenda during the Lame Duck session and will engage elected officials and their staff should any measure of concern to the Church come up for debate. To receive updates on what is happening during Lame Duck and on legislation of interest to the MCC when the Legislature is in session, please take a moment to sign up for the Catholic Advocacy Network [Link no longer available —Ed.]. Finally, Michigan Catholic Conference wishes to say thank you to all the Catholics who participated in the election and voted with their conscience, to the dioceses for helping to distribute election-related materials to parishes and Catholic institutions, and to parishes for helping to educate their parishioners about candidates and the importance of Faithful Citizenship.