With the 2014 election just less than a year away, there were interesting developments last week in Michigan’s gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and the northernmost Congressional race.
n The Inside Michigan Politics newsletter said that Gov. Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, a former one-term congressman from Battle Creek, are “locked in a dead heat…but 30 percent are undecided” in a bipartisan survey IMP commissioned.
Snyder, elected in 2010 with an 18-point edge, had 36.4 percent in the poll while Schauer, a former Democratic leader in the state Senate, had 33.6 percent.
While I am skeptical of early polls, and especially their small slices of the electorate, I note that IMP’s poll gives Schauer a substantial lead 43.9 percent to 32.1 percent edge over Snyder in northern Michigan. IMP said Snyder had a “whopping” 29-point lead in West Michigan.
The poll was a joint effort of Revsix, a Republican data firm in Pontiac, and Michigan Blueprint Strategies, a Democratic polling company in Lansing.
After release of the IMP-commissioned poll, Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group said Snyder “is in as good or a better position than” ex-Govs. Jennifer Granholm and John Engler “at a similar point ahead of their first re-election campaign, “ according to historical analysis of past polling conducted by MRG.
n In the IMP poll, three-term U.S. Rep. Gary Peters of Oakland County has a slight 4.8-point lead over former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, now Republican National Committeewoman.
Reflecting on the polling, Revsix pollster Dennis Darnoi said “Historically, Michigan voters have selected a Democrat to serve in the U.S. Senate. These results confirm that the seat leans in favor of Gary Peters, and that in order to be successful, Terri Lynn Land is going to have to make a compelling case to self-described independent voters and conservative Democrats.”
n First District Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, is one of two Michigan Republican congressmen among the 10 most vulnerable House members listed by Roll Call, an authoritative Capitol Hill publication. The other is 11th District Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Milford.
Benishek got some well-deserved good press in Michigan with critical comments on the Obama administration posting a map on www.whitehouse.gov about the Medicaid expansion that did not include the Upper Peninsula.
The error was corrected after he said “Considering President Obama visited the U.P. only a few years ago (February 2011(, you would think he would remember to include it in the maps on his website.” A White House spokesman quoted by The Detroit News said, “We’re encouraged that Congressman Benishek is reading up on the thousands of people all across Michigan who will have better access and options for health insurance…”
Griffin’s role highlighted
Republican Robert P. Griffin of Traverse City, a 10-year member of the U.S. House before his 1966-79 tenure as Senator, was one of Michigan’s most notable members of Congress.
In the House, he was co-author of the landmark Landrum-Griffin Act that regulates labor-management relations.
Of particular note while he was Senate majority whip responsible for counting Republican votes, Griffin played a — possibly the — pivotal role in Richard Nixon’s 1974 resignation in the wake of Watergate and the president’s threatened impeachment.
Griffin was a longtime Nixon friend and political ally. But Griffin advised Nixon to resign. Stepping into the glare of television lights outside a hearing where he chaired a committee where he chaired a committee studying procedures for the anticipated impeached trial, Griffin said, “We’ve arrived at a point where both the national interest and his own interest will best be served” by the president’s resignation.
In honor of Griffin’s 90th birthday on Nov. 6, the Robert P. Griffin Hall of Justice in Traverse City, the legal center dedicated by Grand Traverse County in 2006 in his name, unveiled a photo exhibit depicting his public service career.
Griffin’s son, Richard Allen Griffin, is a judge of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was the political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.