Well, we got through it. I do not want to crow or even chuckle, but I did not see this coming. I was feeling good about Michigan, but the night before Election Day, after my shift observing absentee ballot pre-processing, I stopped for a fancy cocktail at the fancy cocktail bar across from Huntington Place. Got to talking to another Democratic challenger, and confessed I felt good about the gubernatorial and Secretary of State races here, but the attorney general might be touch-and-go.
For non-Michiganders, our AG is a spiky lesbian who was born with no fucks to give, at least about what people think of her. And so she’s had some public incidents (overserved at a tailgate party, making jokes about drag queens in schools) that would make any campaign coach facepalm. She’s also been a stand-up comic, and not everyone shares her sense of humor. And being female, of course some simply think she should sit down and shut up.
However. All my worry was for naught. Gretchen Whitmer won by 10+, Jocelyn Benson (SOS) by 14+, and Dana Nessel, the AG, by nearly 9. All of these qualify as landslides. And, to be sure, all were extremely fortunate in their opposition, which was uniformly awful, and that’s not just me saying so. Here’s the conservative editorial-page editor of the Detroit News:
Tudor Dixon, the gubernatorial hopeful, was the best of the bunch, and seemed to be making a solid run at Whitmer as the campaigning closed. A respected pollster put Dixon a fraction of a point ahead of the governor on the morning of Election Day. That turned out to be delusional.
Dixon started too late, and with too little oomph in her campaign. The challenger couldn’t raise enough money to truly compete with a Whitmer war chest that topped $36 million (Dixon raised $7 million).
The other two GOP hopefuls, Matt DePerno for attorney general and Kristina Karamo for secretary of state, were abysmal candidates who had no business on a respectable ballot. Many organizations traditionally aligned with the Republican Party refused to endorse them. They raised and spent even less money than Dixon. “Money talks” is still true when it comes to politics.
Karamo was a religious nut job, who came with a steamer trunk of oppo, much of it from her own podcast, where she opined that extramarital sex, yoga and various other benign forces led to demonic possession. She also spent a lot of time blabbering about abortion, which isn’t even part of the job she was running for. DePerno was more grounded in reality but also had a long string of regrettable incidents in his past, including padding his bills and assaulting his own clients. But both were, yep, personally endorsed by you-know-who. As was Dixon, who was just as crazy but a little more presentable. She also had many on-the-record interviews and media appearances when she was trying to be a minor-league Fox News commenter. But even this year, on the trail, when she was making hay from dirty books in school libraries, she used as an example the time one of her kids got a book out of her own school library that included a section on… anyone? Divorce. Yes, divorce.
So with these three leading the ticket, the down-ballot races were more or less doomed, and newly drawn legislative districts stripped the gerrymander advantage from Republicans. Long story short: Both chambers of the legislature flipped blue.
Election night at Huntington Place was anticlimactic, though. As the counting went on, the various GOP-linked challengers ran around scribbling madly on their clipboards, but nothing came of it. Everything ran very smoothly. The only downside was a throbbing headache that sent me home around 1 a.m. By then, the lay of the land was evident and the air was rapidly leaking out of the balloon. I didn’t feel I was letting anyone down by booking early.
I still have the headache, which has waxed and waned since Sunday. Seeing my doctor tomorrow.
And now it’s a lovely, lovely November day and I’m going to take a final-ish bike ride.
What else? Here’s a Twitter thread I did early on E-Day, on the unique joy of visiting Mr. C’s Car Wash here in Grosse Pointe. Let’s try embedding the first tweet and see if it doesn’t break the coding:
It's my birthday month, which means new stickers on my license plate, which reminds me I need a clean license plate, which reminds me I haven't had my car washed in forever. So off to Mr. C's full-service wash. First stop after leaving my car? The hallway of stuff! pic.twitter.com/uEscaQnBx7
— Nancy Nall Derringer (@nnall) November 8, 2022
Otherwise, I’m gonna get on that bike. Hope your November day is equally lovely. See you next week.