Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Greens win more offices than Libertarians in Michigan

While I'm waiting for the final national popular vote to be counted and certified, I'm following up on a contest I highlighted in Michigan Green candidates from the bottom of the ballot to the top.
I'll start at the bottom of the partisan ballot by repeating what I wrote in June.
The most interesting in terms of practical effect are running for the lowest offices.
Finally, the Libertarians nominated three candidates for Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioner, Elizabeth Ceader, Lawrence W. Johnson, and Kalyn Sterzik.  Of this group, Johnson had previously run for Ypsilanti Township Trustee in 2012 and lost.  He and the rest may have more success this year.  There are currently four Democratic candidates on the August primary ballot for seven slots with no Republican candidates.  Unless another party nominates candidates or an independent files for the office, all three appear likely to be elected, serving as the opposition to the Democrats.
Even if these three are the only Libertarians elected in Michigan this year, 2016 would still be a good year for minor party candidates.
The Greens did nominate two people for these positions, Stuart Collis and Shauna McNally.  While the possibility of all three Libertarians serving has dropped, there will still be three minor party members of the board, at least one of which will be a Libertarian.  I personally think the Greens are a better match for the constituency than the Libertarians, but I have my doubts that they will be able to pull enough votes away from the Democrats, who I expect will all get elected, to pick off more than one of the Libertarians.  Still, this will be an interesting contest to watch for no other reason than seeing what happens when minor parties actually can compete and win.
I was right and wrong about this contest.  I was right that the Greens were a better fit for the constituency than the Libertarians, so I was wrong that only one of them would win.  According to the Washtenaw County Clerk, both did, leaving only one Libertarian to serve as opposition to the Democrats from the right.  Here are the candidates listed in decreasing order of vote totals/percentages with the party identifications added and the winning candidates names and numbers bolded.

Debbie Swanson (D)   17888    19.37%
Gloria C. Peterson (D)    17544    18.99%
David L. Streeter (D)   17051    18.46%
Edward Burnett (D)    17042    18.45%
Shauna L. McNally (G)      5009    5.42%
Elizabeth Corder (L)    4719    5.11%
Stuart Collis (G)     4580    4.96%

Lawrence W. Johnson (L)    4163    4.51%
Kalyn D. Sterzik (L)    3888    4.21%

It looks like I misspelled Corder's name, but that's because the Libertarian Party did, too (the error has since been corrected).  Still, congratuations to McNally, Corder, and Collis, all of whom get to represent the "minor parties" in local government.

By the way, they're not alone.  Jesse Torres was elected to the Holly Township Parks Commission as the only elected Green Party official in Oakland County.  She came in sixth for board with seven members (the seventh will be either a qualified write-in or an appointee).  Korie Blyveis was re-elected as Newburg Township Clerk in Cass County; she ran unopposed and still got 370 votes.  She was one of three Greens in local office in the state before last Tuesday, the others being Scott Klein on Hamtramck City Council and David Newland on the Bellaire School Board Trustee.  Finally, Tom Mair won a seat on the Grand Traverse County Commission, beating a five-term Republican incumbent.  That probably makes him the highest ranking elected member of the Green Party in the state out of seven.

On the other hand, no other Libertarian candidates won offices in Michigan as a result of last week's election.  Even adding Corder to the two elected Libertarians in Michigan gives them a grand total of three to the Greens seven.  Surprise!  The party that came in fourth in the statewide presidential contest beat the one that came in third when it came to getting candidates into office, including defeating them in the one local race where they competed head to head.

*The Libertarians can take some consolation from achieving "major party" status, a topic I'll save for tomorrow.

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