GOP guber­na­torial can­didate Bill Schuette, Michigan’s attorney general, is touting Pres­ident Donald Trump’s endorsement as he works to win the state’s gov­er­norship. Wiki­media
Demo­c­ratic guber­na­torial can­didate Gretchen Whitmer is cur­rently leading in the polls ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Wiki­media Commons










Midterms elec­tions are less than two weeks away — and the Michigan gov­er­norship is up for grabs.

Because incumbent Repub­lican Gov. Rick Snyder cannot run for a third term, his seat will either fall to current Repub­lican Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette or his opponent, former Demo­c­ratic state leg­is­lator Gretchen Whitmer.

At the same time, incumbent senator Democrat Debbie Stabenow faces Repub­lican nominee John James, who is backed by Pres­ident Donald Trump, in a much-hyped race that will help determine whether the Repub­licans will maintain their slim Senate majority.

Mean­while, all 14 of Michigan’s con­gres­sional dis­tricts are looking at the prospect of upheaval. Fol­lowing Trump’s sur­prising victory in the typ­i­cally blue Michigan in the 2016 pres­i­dential election, the state has become a bat­tle­ground, and many are looking to it as a test marker for how lasting the Repub­lican surge really was.

Pro­fessor of Pol­itics Adam Car­rington said the governor’s race is par­tic­u­larly tight, but he believes that Whitmer has the edge over Schuette. Right now, Whitmer leads Schuette by about nine points, according to a Real­Clear­Pol­itics poll.

“One thing Whitmer has done well is appeal to union voters, and she has tried to inten­tionally cul­tivate them, whereas the national Demo­c­ratic platform has ignored that voting block,” Car­rington said. “In a state like Michigan, that’s important for success.”

Car­rington added that he believes it is unlikely that James will beat Stabenow, even with the Trump administration’s fervent support of him, and his mil­itary-turned-busi­nessman back­ground. According to a Real­Clear Pol­itics poll, Stabenow leads James by a little more than 17 points.  

“In some ways, James is a very old-style Repub­lican,” Car­rington said. And that may be part of it: He hasn’t been able to excite the Trump voters who would have gone for Obama. And Stabenow, she’s just a decent and capable politician.”

This par­ticular Senate race could have been crazy, Car­rington said.

“I have always won­dered what a Kid Rock can­didacy would have looked like,” he said, ref­er­encing the rumors in 2017 that the rap-rock legend would be running for Stabenow’s seat — a mar­keting trick which briefly put Kid Rock in the national spot­light.

But in general, Car­rington said, typ­i­cally Demo­c­ratic dis­tricts that went for Trump in 2016 will likely roll back closer to their original Demo­c­ratic voting habits.

“And this will likely happen in the other typ­i­cally Democrat states Trump won in 2016,” he said.

Student groups have been actively cam­paigning on both sides of the aisle this season. College Democrats will host a phone banking party for Whitmer on Oct. 26, and the group will also be can­vassing for her on Nov. 3.

“Our club hosts a variety of opinions, but speaking for myself, the blue wave is by no means an inevitability,” College Democrats Pres­ident Madeline Hedrick said of the Democrat hopes this year. “It requires the vote and the work of everyone who cares about cor­recting the moral and literal cor­ruption of the federal gov­ernment.”

College Repub­licans have also been hosting phone banks, as well as can­vassing for many Repub­licans throughout the state. The club recently sent members to knock on doors, sup­porting James’s senate bid and rep­re­sen­tative Tim Walberg’s con­gres­sional reelection cam­paign.

“We are incredibly opti­mistic about the midterms despite the political climate of the day,” College Repub­licans pres­ident Aiden Wheeler said. “We are proud to say that we played a part in the 2018 grass­roots cam­paign to get Michigan voters out for the GOP.”

  • Amanda Beeson

    Thank you for this article, which high­lights the impor­tance of everyone getting out and voting. There is much at stake. We have some excellent, capable can­di­dates — Debbie Stabenow, Gretchen Whitmer, and Gretchen Driskell — who will work hard to protect the rights of women, improve our health insurance cov­erage, and protect Michigan’s Great Lakes on which our economy depends.

    You don’t mention the Pro­posals, but they’re important too. Pro­posals 2 and 3 will bring non­par­tisan improve­ments to our election system. Props 2 and 3 benefit everyone — dems or Reps! There’s no reason not to support them.