As in years past, the Michigan Doctors’ Political Action Committee (MDPAC), the political arm of the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS), endorsed legislative candidates at both the state and federal levels, as well as candidates for the state Supreme Court. Ninety-nine out of 101 MDPAC-endorsed candidates won their races. The voice of Michigan physicians carried a powerful message and pro-medicine candidates won in many key elections.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer will return for a second, four-year term, winning re-election early Wednesday morning. Although Republican candidate Tudor Dixon seemed to be closing the gap between herself and the Governor in recent weeks, it ultimately proved too little, too late. At the time of writing, the incumbent governor led 53.3% to Dixon’s 45.1%, with 85% of the vote counted. Much of the outstanding vote is from heavily Democratic areas that will presumably boost that margin.
Governor Whitmer also led her party to a resounding - and somewhat surprising - victory statewide. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel both also won their re-elections. However, the real shocker of the night was that Democrats managed to flip both chambers for the first time in decades. Most political analysts predicted the Democrats’ best chance was to flip the Senate, but the House was just too far out of reach. The new legislative term will see the Senate Democrats with a 20-18 majority and the House Democrats with a 56-54 majority.
Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) will be the next Speaker of the House and the next Senate Majority Leader is currently down to Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids).
For the Michigan Supreme Court, Richard Bernstein and Paul Zahra (MDPAC-endorsed candidate) won their races. With that, the Democratic Party-nominated majority on the bench will remain at 4-3.
Majorities in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate remain a question as key races across the country are still unclear. Here in Michigan, Democratic US House candidates secured victories over Republicans in key districts:
- Hillary Scholten (MDPAC-endorsed) beat Republican John Gibbs in US House District 3
- Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin held off state Senator Tom Barrett in HD 7
- Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint (MDPAC-endorsed) held off Republican Paul Junge of Fenton in HD 8.
Bucking the Democratic trend is US House District 10, in which Republican John James (MDPAC-endorsed) narrowly beat Democrat Carl Marlinga as votes finally came in around noon Wednesday.
This year, three state-wide ballot proposals were under consideration for the electorate to decide. Unlike most of the other races, these initiatives were called early in the night with an overwhelming majority of voters supporting each initiative.
Michigan Proposal 1 – Voters for Transparency and Term Limits - approved with 64% of the vote
Prop 1 will amend the state constitution to reduce the maximum length a lawmaker can serve in the legislature from 14 years to 12 years but allow all 12 years to be served in one chamber. Currently, lawmakers can serve up to six years (three terms) in the Michigan House and eight years (two terms) in the Michigan Senate. The proposal also creates a new provision requiring state lawmakers, the governor, secretary of state, and attorney general to disclose financial statements.
Michigan Proposal 2 – Promote the Vote - approved with 59% of the vote
Prop 2 will codify a number of voting measures into the state constitution. After the 2020 election, where Michigan was in the national spotlight as votes were being counted and contested at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit, a number of voting reforms have been considered by the state legislature. Promote the Vote, the coalition of organizations behind initiating the ballot proposal, determined that there was a need to protect voting access across the state by codifying key protections in the state constitution.
Michigan Proposal 3 – Reproductive Freedom for All - approved with 55% of the vote
Prop 3 will amend the state Constitution to make reproductive freedom a protected right, repealing a current state statute which makes abortion a felony. The language spelled out a new individual right to reproductive freedom including the right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy, such as prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility. Furthermore, the proposal does allow the state to prohibit abortion after fetal viability unless needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health; prohibits state discrimination in enforcement of the right; prohibits the prosecution of an individual or a person helping a pregnant individual for exercising rights established by the proposed amendment; and invalidates any state laws that conflict with the proposed amendment.
Physician involvement is essential to keeping medicine a priority in Michigan. Do your part by donating to MDPAC today.