It's time to ramble on…

The thoughts of a young journalist in southeastern Michigan

The Michigan primary, from the Kent County building

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Election nights can be considered by some to be the worst night to be a journalist. Long hours, short deadlines, and pressure to produce content that is accurate and compelling is difficult.

A Justin Amash for Congress sign in the trash outside the Kent County Building. Funny thing is, Amash won the GOP primary for the 3rd District in Congress by a landslide.

That being said, I love election nights.

There’s something about the shift in power that the people select that gets me excited. The fate of an area, whether it be a city or the nation, comes down to those 12-13 hours the people go to the polls. It’s something we as Americans can share and talk about, because it affects us all.

Ever since the 2008 elections when I was at Central Michigan Life, I eagerly await election nights in the newsroom. That’s why I was ecstatic to partake in the primary Tuesday night in Grand Rapids.

Going to the Kent County building was my task, and I was assigned to e-mail in results as they came. Usually, they were up in the clerk’s office before posted online, so relaying info that could already be online is difficult. The building had very few people in it, consisting of a few Steve Heacock supporters, one Pat Miles supporter and a man from the Associated Press to collect numbers.

Polls closed at 8 p.m. and results began pouring in soon after. With the advent of precincts using electronic pollbooks, many precincts had issues with counting ballots, delaying the final vote total to just past 1 a.m. Strange thing is, the last municipality to turn in their votes was Grattan Township, a small township in eastern Kent County with 3,551 people residing in. It was one precinct, and it was using an e-pollbook. When I approached the township clerk to ask him what took so long (not those exact words, obviously), he said “no” and walked out. Not sure why an elected official wouldn’t talk about election information, unless there was some sort of problem.

The scene inside the Kent County Administrative Building during election night on August 3, 2010.

Politically, the election in Michigan has some interesting twists than couldn’t have been foreseen a year ago. Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder was unknown in Michigan until he announced his candidacy for governor last year. Running on a ticket focused almost completely on the economy and jobs, he beat out four other Republicans focusing more on the right on most issues, including abortion and stem cell research. Snyder didn’t talk too much on social issues, and might’ve been the reason he won. Besides calling on Democrats to vote for him, labeling himself a moderate Republican, Snyder did not partake in as many debates as other candidates, saying “voters are sick of sound bites” (which Snyder still says to this day, which I would classify as a sound bite, but that’s me). He managed to win by more than 90,000 votes.

On the Democratic side, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, the farthest left of the candidates. He beat out Andy Dillon, despite spending very little in campaign dollars.

It has been widely speculated that the winner of the GOP primary would take the gubernatorial race in November. The New York Times has Michigan “leaning Republican” in the governor’s race, a sentiment mostly from the anti-Jennifer Granholm feel many have gathered in this state.

One noteworthy observation: With Snyder putting less emphasis on social issues, the traditional pro-life voter won’t have a candidate in the November election that conforms to the traditional, social viewpoint most are used to. Snyder is anti-abortion, but has no problem with stem cell research, a topic that social conservatives are highly against. Earlier this week, I heard a radio ad from Michigan Right to Life, denouncing Snyder and promoting Attorney General Mike Cox, who the group endorsed (the ad is now gone from their site). The vote shows that social issues took a back seat in Michigan, when previously, they had played in the forefront.


Written by David Veselenak

August 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm

One Response

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  1. […] responsibilities were vastly different than my primary night coverage in Grand Rapids. Here, I was assigned several races to cover and monitor, an actual first for me (my time at […]

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