Voting results in Grosse Pointes reflect and conflict with statewide results

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 7, 2018

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GROSSE POINTES — Democrats may have swept the top races in Michigan — governor, attorney general, secretary of state and U.S. Senate — but results in the Grosse Pointes were more mixed.

In Grosse Pointe Farms, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette edged out Democrat Gretchen Whitmer by a vote of 3,307 to 2,855. Hometown pride might have played a role in Republican secretary of state candidate — and Farms resident — Mary Treder Lang’s win in the Farms over Democrat Jocelyn Benson, where the vote was 3,418 to 2,719. Republican attorney general candidate Tom Leonard also won in the Farms, receiving 3,460 votes to Democrat Dana Nessel’s 2,478 votes. Incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, received fewer votes in the Farms than her challenger, Republican John James, with 2,721 for Stabenow and 3,516 for James. 

It was a similar situation for incumbent Democratic 14th District Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, who received 2,674 votes in the Farms while her Republican rival, Marc S. Herschfus, received 3,256 votes; Lawrence was re-elected to represent her district in Washington. Among the state Senate candidates for the 2nd District, Republican Lisa Papas was the favorite in the Farms, with 3,503 votes compared to 2,478 votes for Democrat Adam Hollier, who ultimately won the seat. Hollier will also serve a partial term for that seat through the end of the year. In the 2nd District state representative race, Republican John Palffy was the winner in the Farms, besting Democrat Joe Tate by a vote of 3,363 to 2,503. Tate won the seat districtwide, however.

A Marine Corps veteran and economic development professional, Tate thanked his campaign supporters and volunteers after the election and vowed to take the concerns of his district with him to Lansing. 

“For us to improve the quality of life for our Michigan residents, we must invest in our people and places,” Tate said in a statement issued after the election. “This includes everything from our infrastructure systems that provide our drinking water to the school buildings that educate our children. I look forward to taking the value of service to Lansing. I know our challenges are many, but they are far outweighed by the opportunities that are ahead.”

Proposal 1 was approved statewide and will legalize the use of recreational marijuana in Michigan, but was more narrowly approved in the Farms, by a vote of 3,201 in favor to 3,031 against. Proposal 2, which changes the redistricting process, was approved in the Farms by a vote of 3,379-2,668. Proposal 3, which changes the state constitution, allows for automatic and Election Day voter registration, absentee voting without a reason and restoration of straight-party ticket voting. It passed statewide, and in the Farms it passed by a vote of 3,688-2,435.

In the Wayne County portion of Grosse Pointe Shores — which constitutes most of the city — Republican candidates led the pack, with Schuette receiving 1,106 votes to 526 for Whitmer; Treder Lang receiving 1,107 votes compared to 526 for Benson; Leonard receiving 1,130 votes compared to 464 for Nessel; James receiving 1,139 votes compared to 502 for Stabenow; Herschfus receiving 1,091 compared to 500 for Lawrence; and Papas receiving 1,154 votes compared to 438 for Hollier. Voters in the Wayne County portion also turned down all three state proposals, voting 1,005-623 against Proposal 1, 880-696 against Proposal 2, and 810-784 against Proposal 3. 

Schuette, Treder Lang, Leonard and James were the favorites in the Macomb County portion of the Shores as well. The Macomb portion of the Shores turned down Proposal 1 by a vote of 31 against to 23 in favor, but approved Proposal 2 by a vote of 27-24 and Proposal 3 by a vote of 30-20.

The situation was a bit different in Grosse Pointe City, where Whitmer was favored by 1,802 votes to 1,508 votes for Schuette; Benson, by 1,726 votes to 1,560 votes for Treder Lang; Stabenow, by 1,704 votes to 1,644 for James; Lawrence, by 1,694 votes to 1,509 for Herschfus; and Tate, by 1,612 to 1,586 for Palffy. Republicans scored City victories as well, though, with Leonard narrowly besting Nessel by a vote of 1,609-1,570, and Papas, by 1,644 to 1,592 for Hollier. City voters approved Proposal 1 by a vote of 1,861-1,503, Proposal 2 by a vote of 2,065-1,221, and Proposal 3 by a vote of 2,169 to 1,144.

Grosse Pointe Park, once solidly Republican, seems now to be a more Democratic town. Whitmer beat Schuette in the Park by a vote of 4,142 to 2,432, Benson won over Treder Lang by 3,932 to 2,545, Nessel beat Leonard by 3,726 to 2,551, Stabenow beat James by 3,964 to 2,659, Lawrence beat Herschfus by 3,926 to 2,424, Hollier beat Papas by 3,777 to 2,633 and Tate beat Palffy by 3,796 to 2,513. As to the proposals, Park voters approved Proposal 1 by 4,070-2,522, Proposal 2 by 4,404-2,037 and Proposal 3 by 4,606-1,889.

Voters said civic duty and major races on the ballot compelled them to cast ballots at the polls.

“It’s always important to vote,” Farms voter Karen Sutherland said.

Her husband, David Sutherland, agreed. He said races for governor, Senate and local bond and millage issues were significant as well.

“There’s so many important issues, and everyone needs to give their input,” Farms voter Esther Wolfe said. “I think the (school) bond issue was really important. There’s strong feelings on both sides. And then, of course, there’s the governor and secretary of state. Do we want to keep moving forward or go back?”

Democratic incumbent District 1 Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen and District 1 Wayne County Community College Trustee Mary Ellen Stempfle both ran unopposed and were re-elected to another two-year term and six-year term, respectively.