By Michele Bourdieu
HOUGHTON, EAGLE RIVER, MICH. -- In both Houghton and Keweenaw counties, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero defeated Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon in the Aug. 3 Democratic Primary Election, despite a relatively low voter turnout. The following are unofficial, draft results until canvassing is completed.
Virg Bernero, Democratic candidate for governor of Michigan, gives his victory speech. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy Virg Bernero. Reprinted with permission.)
Bernero received 946 votes to Dillon's 729 overall in Houghton County. In Keweenaw, the northernmost Michigan county, Bernero received 104 votes to Dillon's 75.
In the Republican Primary race for Governor, Houghton County gave Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox the most votes -- 1015 -- compared to 945 for Rick Snyder of Ann Arbor, who was declared the Republican Primary winner in a close contest. Keweenaw County Republican voters also gave Cox the most votes: 114 as opposed to 101 for Pete Hoekstra and 84 for Rick Snyder.
In Houghton County only 22.75 percent of the registered voters, Democrat and Republican, turned out to vote in the Aug. 3 Primary. Keweenaw County reported an average of 38.6 percent of registered voters. Allouez Township, which has the largest number of registered voters -- 1259 -- had the lowest percentage of people voting -- 27 percent -- while Eagle Harbor Township, with only 257 registered voters, had a voter turnout of 55 percent.
Keweenaw County Commissioner Don Keith (R-Eagle Harbor), a candidate for 110th District State Representative, received 91 Republican votes from Eagle Harbor Township in his total of 181 votes from Keweenaw County; but Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine) received a total of 193 votes in Keweenaw.
In Houghton County Huuki received 2277 votes to Keith's 684 votes.
Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) defeated Democrats Robert Black and William Doan in both counties. Keweenaw County gave Dianda a total of 162 votes, while he received 1247 votes in Houghton County.
Dianda will face Huuki in November for the State Representative position now held by Mike Lahti (D-Hancock).
Lahti ran unopposed for the 38th District State Senate position. Republicans in Houghton County chose Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) with 2617 votes over Jeff Paulin's 273 to run against Lahti in November. In Keweenaw County, Casperson received 284 votes to Paulin's 45.
Gary McDowell (D-Pickford), the lone Democratic candidate for Bart Stupak's position of First District Representative in Congress, received 1485 votes in Houghton County and 151 votes in Keweenaw County. Stupak decided recently not to run again for the position he has held for nearly two decades.*
Among several Republican contenders for First District Representative to Congress, Dan Benishek received the most votes in Houghton County: 1883. Keweenaw County Republicans gave Benishek 223 votes -- also the highest number among the Republican candidates. (The others were Jason Allen, Patrick Donlon, Linda Goldthorpe, Don Hooper and Tom Stillings.) In other parts of the district the race is being contested since Benishek's and Allen's results were very close.
The Detroit Free Press stated on Aug. 4: "According to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Web site, political newcomer and Tea Party candidate Dr. Dan Benishek of Crystal Falls led state Sen. Jason Allen of Alanson by a single vote, 27,091-to-27,090. The Associated Press’ tally had the difference only a little larger -- Benishek led by 12 votes out of some 71,000 cast."
A recount is possible to determine which Republican candidate will run against Gary McDowell.
*Editor's Note: See our Apr. 9, 2010 article, "Stupak announces decision not to continue in Congress."