Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.
The victory celebration had to wait until early Wednesday morning. Long-time incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick snuck by a pair of challengers at the polls yesterday but the race was so tight nearly 80% of the precincts were reporting before there was any indication Kwame’s mom had actually held on through the storm.
Meanwhile, in Davison (the 50th House District outside Flint) incumbent Democrat Ted Hammon officially starts his new job search this morning. Hammon became a victim of his own record in failing to hold off a political neophyte, a photographer making his first foray into the campaign arena. Jim Slezak pulled off the stunner and becomes the first man in Michigan to strike a blow for progress here in 2008.
There will be a lot written in the aftermath of the Hammon disaster but the bottom line, however you slice and dice it, is that voters wanted a change and they’re not afraid to fire Democrats to secure it.
The Flint Journal reports this morning:
Hammon, who spent six years as a county commissioner and 14 years on the Burton City Council, easily won the district in 2006. But campaign finance records submitted in late July show Slezak outspent him nearly 2-to-1 this time around, $35,500 to $18,500.
Disinterest in the same old career politicians was apparent early in the 50th. The newcomer began gathering steam early and never stopped. Better yet, he focused on talking to voters, not ignoring them from the safety and security of a taxpayer funded office in Lansing. That’s been Hammon’s M.O. the last two years, never evidenced better than by his votes to steal $1.5 billion from Michigan taxpayers after helping force a first-ever shutdown of the state government last fall.
Hammon’s voting record reads like a Jon Stryker wish list. Slezak may be every bit as liberal when it’s all said and done but he didn’t have that record to defend. And he won.
Turn your gaze over to Detroit and there was another surprising result that kept folks checking returns well into the early hours of the morning. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick has an unfortunate last name this time around but she was blessed with one thing… two opponents. Martha Scott and Mary Waters threatened and eventually succeeded in splitting the “change” vote. The Ivory Tower reports:
Bill McConico, Kilpatrick’s campaign manager, said he was confident the congresswoman would keep her job.
“The residents of Detroit are speaking tonight,” he said.
They were and they did. Kilpatrick appears to have won the race with less than forty percent of the vote and by fewer than 1,800 votes. Take Martha Scott out of the equation and Mary Waters cleans up… recruiting Scott (allegedly) to “join” the fray was the best thing Yaw’s Boy’s mom ever did under the table.
Regular readers know that I love the D. Detroit is one of my favorite places. I love the food, the sports teams and the history, though it’s far too often abandoned. That said, it is a political wasteland. Utterly and completely devoid of even the slightest modicum of good sense. It isn’t just that Republicans consistently receive three to eight percent of the vote inside the city, it’s that they continue to re-elect the same cast of characters time after time, no matter the felony charges, allegations, graft and budget busting corruption. And yeah, the voter fraud and intimidation makes Richard Daly’s Chicago look like Mayberry. The further you get outside the city limits the more likely voters care and pay attention enough to take their own future seriously.
Reports on last night’s Congressional contest appear to bear that out. FREEP reports that the lead Mary Waters held early in the evening seems to have come from precincts outside the city limits. As the Detroit vote started hitting the wires Kilpatrick bounced big. Almost get the sense they’d re-elect Kwame himself inside the city limits.
But Detroit is always the outlier. Davison is small-town Michigan. The rest of the 13th Congressional, sanity may not reign but it clearly exists. A pair of contests on a day that was supposed to be a technicality for Democrats across the state prove voters are reaching their tipping point and are willing to cast a ballot for change. In Michigan that’s good news for taxpayers… and bad news for Democrats.