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What Michigan learned from the primary elections

Brenda Lawrence won a very tight primary, securing a seat on the Democratic ticket.
Courtesy of the City of Southfield

The 2014 primary elections are now in the rear view mirror. Before moving on to November's battles though, it's worth taking a moment to look back at what happened on Tuesday.

Two important races for the House of Representatives

Kerry Bentivolio (R-Milford) was a reindeer rancher, teacher and National Guardsman who became a Representative in the U.S. House. He never had much buy-in from the Republicans in his district though, and was soundly defeated, by a political insider with his own issues. Bentivolio lost to David Trott in the 11th District after Bentivolio aligned himself with the Tea Party. Trott on the other hand, played up a more traditional background, trying to downplay the fact that almost all of his wealth has been tied to foreclosing on the homes of his constituents.

Showing his own wealth, Trott spent $2.4 million to win the primary election, according to the Detroit Free Press.

On the Democratic side, Southfield mayor Brenda Lawrence held off a spirited challenge from state rep. Rudy Hobbs, winning by 1,993 votes in the 14th District. Both candidates have a strong track record, and the winner of this primary is expected to win in November, in what is a very Democratic-leaning district.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the race was that former U.S. rep. Hansen Clarke finished third after leading in most of the pre-election polls.

Proposal 1 passes with ease

Proposal 1 passed in a landslide, with 69 percent of the voters securing its passage. The proposal will phase out personal property taxes on certain kinds of industrial and commercial equipment between 2016 and 2023. However, in the run-up to the election, it looked like Proposal 1 would fail miserably. When the votes were tabulated though, the proposal went through after different groups spent over $7 million on TV ads to pass it, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Not many people voted

It's always hard to get voters to the polls in primary elections, especially in non-presidential years. The highest total ever, according to the Michigan Secretary of State, was just 24.4 percent in 1982. This year, just 1.3 million people, or 17.5 percent of eligible voters, came out to cast a vote.

In a year where there was just one statewide proposal on the ballot and neither the Democrats or Republicans had a contested race for governor, many Michiganders didn't feel the need to vote.

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