2018-11-15 / Views

Election overview: Time to get to work

Life goes on, still without clear direction.

The general outlook for those hoping for major changes to the political climate — locally and nationally — changed only slightly during the General Election.

That’s for Leelanau and America. We remain a somewhat divided county, and a deeply divided nation. The thought that the General Election would show otherwise evaporated locally when Republicans retained control of the Board of Commissioners and nationally when the GOP survived the “blue wave” by picking up seats in the Senate. Democrats took control of the House, which will provide them a bigger megaphone.

For every point proving otherwise, there is a counterpoint. In 2016, a barely-known retired Marine general named Jack Bergman captured the open First Congressional seat while collecting 51.3 percent of the vote in Leelanau. In 2018 Bergman, a Republican, ran against an attractive opponent in Matt Morgan who is also a retired Marine officer — and only collected 48.3 percent of the vote. A “red wave” across the Upper Peninsula returned him to Washington.

Senator Debbie Stabenow this month easily won her fourth term. The Democrat in 2018 was preferred by 51.5 percent of county residents, compared to 50.4 percent in 2012 when the GOP dominated midterm elections. That’s a wash.

Electors in the county two years ago preferred Northport resident Dan Scripps, a Democrat, in the race for the 101st State House Seat by a mere .2 percent. Some 51.6 percent voted for Republican Jack O’Malley in the 2018 race for an open seat. O’Malley also faced a county resident in Kathy Wiejaczka, who ran a spirited race.

Democrats did pick up a County Board seat with Peachy Rentenbach’s defeat of first-year incumbent Casey Noonan in District 6, no small feat.

But our overall appraisal of election day 2018 is that neither “side” won. Those who played to their bases to become elected will need to look across aisles to get anything accomplished.

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