This Sunday, the Detroit Free Press endorsed Senator Debbie Stabenow, saying she has earned a third term. The paper praised her for being "one of the Senate's most effective deal-makers, a fierce advocate for her home state and the Great Lakes that surround it."
The week before that, the Free Press also urged a no vote on Proposal 5, calling it "a prescription for disaster."
Among the reasons the Free Press used to support its endorsement, the paper singled out Stabenow's work on the Farm Bill. She worked with the leaders of the agriculture committees in both the House and Senate to put together a plan that cut costs while maintaining a reasonable level of services. Her group was the only one that submitted a plan to the budget-cutting supercommittee. While the supercommittee failed, her bill became the template for the Farm Bill that passed the Senate. The bill itself would have worked as well for Michigan's growers of specialty crops, such as sugar beets, as it would for Iowa's wheat and corn farmers.
The Free Press also mentioned Stabenow's efforts on behalf of health care reform, manufacturing, and distressed home owners. In addition to embracing the Affordable Care Act, Stabenow also made sure that homeowners would not be charged for taxes from the amount their mortgages were written down for a short sale or renegotiated loan.
As for Stabenow's Republican opponent Pete Hoekstra, the paper called his campaign "a disappointing and disorganized fiasco that failed to showcase his experience or depth." The editorial board was not impressed with him in the primary, either, as it endorsed his opponent, Clark Durant.
Stabenow and Hoekstra are facing four minor party candidates, Green Harley Mikkelson, Libertarian Scotty Bowman, Natural Law Party John Litle, and Taxpayers Party Richard Matkin. Litle, who lives in Ann Arbor, is the only candidate for U.S. Senate from Washtenaw County.
Michigan Supreme Court
In its October 7th editorial, the Detroit Free Press decried the partisan nature of the Michigan Supreme Court and singled out the Republican majority for its responsibility in making it that way. Consequently, the paper endorsed two Democratic nominees, Connie Marie Kelley and Bridget Mary McCormack, for the two full eight-year terms on the ballot. Kelley was elected in 2008 to the 3rd Circuit Court, which serves Wayne County. McCormack is an associate dean in the University of Michigan Law School.
Ann Arborite McCormack is the only candidate for Supreme Court from Washtenaw County. However, she is not the only one with Washtenaw County connections, as three of the four other women running for Michigan Supreme Court attended the University of Michigan, including Kelley, Democratic nominee Shelia Johnson, and Republican nominee Colleen O'Brien.
Kelley and McCormack are running against Republican incumbent Stephan Markman, Republican O'Brien, Libertarians Kerry Morgan and Bob Roddis, and Natural Law Party chairman Doug Dern.
The Free Press also endorsed Brian Zahra, calling him the least partisan of the Republican nominees, for the two-year term also on the ballot. Zahra is running against Democrat Johnson, and U.S. Taxpayers Party nominee Mindy Barry.
The Detroit Free Press rejected Proposal 5, which would require a two-thirds majority to pass a tax increase, resoundingly. The paper used the example of raising the gas tax, something that hasn't happened in 15 years, to illustrate its point. Should Proposal 5 be approved, the most likely way that a tax increase would be approved would be by ballot measure. The combination of a two-thirds vote in the legislature, combined with citizen referendum, might result in the gas tax not being raised this century, dooming Michigan's drivers to terrible roads for decades. About that prospect, the Free Press asked, "Are you willing to take that risk?"