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Mich. re-elects Obama, Stabenow; downs proposals

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 7:30 am •  Published: November 7, 2012

In another key U.S. House race, Republican Rep. Justin Amash won a second term representing the Grand Rapids area, fending off a tougher-than-expected challenge from Democrat Steve Pestka. But the 1st District rematch between freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek and Democratic challenger Gary McDowell remained too close to call early Wednesday.

Democratic Rep. Gary Peters won another term, defeating Republican John Hauler in a redrawn southeast Michigan district. Peters was the first white candidate supported by The Black Slate, a Detroit activist coalition, and will fill a traditionally black seat in Congress.

It also was a winning night for two of the longest-serving congressmen in U.S. history. Democratic Rep. John Conyers won his 25th term in Congress, while Democrat John Dingell won a 29th. Dingell, the longest currently serving House member, has been in Congress since 1955.

While the presidential and congressional races led Michigan's packed ballot, tens of millions of campaign dollars also were spent on six ballot proposals that had nothing to do with candidates — though the emergency mangers defeat delivered a blow to Gov. Rick Snyder, who wasn't even on the ballot.

Snyder had championed the law and argued the state must be able help Michigan's struggling areas. He had appointed managers in five cities and three school districts since signing the law last year.

Critics argued it was a state power grab that usurped local elected officials' rights.

"I respect the voters. We'll just move forward," Snyder told WWJ-AM on Wednesday morning. "The bigger part of the vote, in my view, was the constitutional proposals."

The other three ballot initiatives to fail included a measure that called for changing the constitution to require a referendum on any plan for a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

That campaign was backed by billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun, owner of the private Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, in response to a competing bridge proposed this year by Michigan and Ontario.

"I don't have a problem amending the constitution if it's for the betterment of all the people. But Matty Moroun's monopoly has got to end," said Frank Yoakam, 38, a general contractor in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Also failing were a measure to order utilities to produce 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and a measure to make tax increases contingent on a two-thirds legislative vote of approval.


Associated Press writers Jeff Karoub, Ed White, David Aguilar, Mike Householder, Corey Williams, John Flesher and Larry Lage contributed to this report.