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Michigan campaigns near end for races, proposals

Associated Press Modified: November 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm •  Published: November 5, 2012

Stabenow attended get-out-the-vote events in Grand Rapids and East Lansing early Monday and was scheduled to make similar appearances later in the day in Flint and Ann Arbor.

Hoekstra, meanwhile, was set to stop at six different Republican "victory centers" across the state as part of his final push. A campaign email detailing his itinerary read: "1 Day To Defeat Debbie Stabenow."

The legislative and judicial landscapes in Lansing also could see some changes.

All 110 Michigan House seats are up for grabs and Democrats seek to narrow the gap with the Republican majority that took control of the chamber just two years ago. Republicans currently hold a 64-46 edge in the House. It's unlikely Republicans will lose the majority after gaining 20 House seats in 2010, winning back in one night all they had lost the previous six years. Still, Democrats see vulnerabilities in the chamber leadership they believe could help them make gains.

Three seats also are at stake at the Michigan Supreme Court in an election that could maintain or expand the 4-3 advantage held by conservatives or shift control to liberal justices.

But the six contentious ballot proposals could be the strongest indicators of voter mood statewide, starting with the emergency manager issue. Another ballot initiative, Proposal 2, seeks to amend the state constitution to ban right-to-work laws. Approval would give Michigan's public and private workers the constitutional right to organize in unions and collectively bargain contracts.

Other measures would order electric utilities to generate one-quarter of their power from renewable sources by 2025, make tax increases contingent on supermajority votes and require a public vote before state money can be spent on any new bridge or tunnel between Michigan and Canada.

While the secretary of state's office declined to provide a statewide voter turnout prediction, the clerk's offices in populous Oakland and Macomb counties expected turnout there to be just slightly less than it was four years ago.

Oakland County, which primarily elects Republicans to county leadership positions but hasn't gone for a GOP presidential candidate since 1988, is expecting a turnout of between 70 percent and 72 percent — down negligibly from a record 72.5 percent in 2008. David Mroz, a spokesman for the Oakland county clerk, said the projected slight decrease isn't a concern, given that most of the nation's counties "would be happy to see a 70 percent turnout."

"I believe we're seeing a very ... engaged electorate," he said.


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Associated Press writers Mike Householder, Corey Williams, Ed White and John Flesher contributed to this report.