Tuesday night’s election returns are something we may not see again in our lifetimes. Republicans swept all statewide offices including Rick Snyder being elected governor, Bill Schuette being elected attorney general and Ruth Johnson elected as secretary of state. Republicans gained a supermajority of as many as 26 seats in the state senate (out of 38) and won the Supreme Court, all the education boards and picked up two congressional seats (Benishek and Walberg).
But the biggest election news of the night came in the State House. Republicans picked up 20 seats, including ousting 9 incumbent Democrat representatives—the most incumbents to lose their seats since 1966. The upcoming term will feature a 67-43 partisan split in the state House. With the swearing in of the new members in January, 96 of 110 members will have two years or less of service in the House.
One of the most disappointing election losses of the night was Congressman Mark Schauer of Battle Creek. Schauer was a rising star in Washington as an advocate for national transportation funding. In his first term, he was appointed to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and quickly became a national leader on highway funding, including work to increase Michigan’s share of money.
Voters rejected Proposal 1 that would have created a constitutional convention. MITA opposed this proposal. Any rewriting of the constitution may have jeopardized the protections that are currently in place that guarantee gas taxes and vehicle registration fees be dedicated to transportation.
What impact will the elections have on MITA’s immediate goal of increased transportation funding? The answer is not yet clear. MITA staff will continue to push for action on increased transportation investment dollars and will be discussing our strategy with key leaders over the next few days.
In national news, 18-term Democrat Congressman James Oberstar, who heads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in northern Minnesota and is a long-time infrastructure advocate, lost his reelection.
Attached is a seat-by-seat analysis of which candidates won and who MITA supported. (Click here)
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