Elections & Northern Michigan Politics

Conner Desilets / Interlochen Public Radio

Former State Representative Larry Inman is close to being a free man after a federal judge dropped the two remaining corruption charges against him: extortion and soliciting a bribe.

“Getting the news that it’s over after everything I’ve been through, it’s like a state of disbelief,” Inman said.

Michigan House Democrats

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula used to be represented by Democrats in Lansing and Washington, DC.

Now there’s one left: Sara Cambensy from Marquette represents the 109th District in the Michigan House of Representatives. The UP Democrat attacks her governor and sometimes votes with Republicans.

That is what kept Rep. Cambensy in office, but she might be the last of a dying breed.


Thursday on Stateside, Michigan State Representative Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the Upper Peninsula. Also a look at the difficulties recreational marijuana shop owners have had opening up in Traverse City. Plus, after a long year, a West Michigan tulip festival blooms again.

This episode was hosted by Interlochen Public Radio's Assignment Editor Max Johnston.

Kaye LaFond

Fifteen members of Congress, including five republicans from Michigan, are asking President Joe Biden to support the Line 5 oil pipeline.

Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed two budget bills to fund the state’s COVID-19 response. But the bills also include line-item vetoes to the chagrin of Republicans and business groups.

Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to formally throw her support behind legislation to add LGBTQ protections to Michigan’s civil rights law on Monday.

Historically, votes on similar bills have been blocked by GOP leaders.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) is opposed. Another Republican State Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) said Friday on Michigan Public Television that he also has questions on protecting religious rights.


Gun rights were at the center of a passionate state Senate debate on Wednesday. The symbolic gesture on the part of the Senate Republican majority was also a proxy battle over COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s use of emergency powers.

The issue was Senate Resolution 22, which registered the Senate’s opposition to any efforts at the federal or state levels to impose new firearm restrictions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In January, U.S. Representative Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s victory, even after the insurrection attempt.

Rep. Bergman was direct when asked if he had any regrets.

"The short answer is no," he said.

And the long answer?

"Hell no."

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is investigating a criminal complaint against Grand Traverse County Commission Vice Chair Ron Clous. He displayed a firearm during a constituent’s public comment in a virtual board meeting in January.

Grand Traverse County

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners didn't punish Board Vice Chair Ron Clous Wednesday for pulling out a gun during a constituent's comments last month.

Grand Traverse County

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting Thursday after Co-Chair Ron Clous pulled out a rifle during a constituent's public comment last week

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave her third State of the State speech Wednesday night. Because of the coronavirus pandemic it was the first delivered virtually, with the Governor speaking from her Lansing office.

In it she called for bipartisan solutions to the coronavirus.

Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners

Ron Clous, vice chair of the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners, showed off a rifle as a constituent voiced concerns about guns during a virtual meeting Wednesday.

During the public comment period, a resident expressed concerns that members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of violence in the state, had attended a previous meeting.

U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) says he will object to the certification of the November election results this week. He’ll join several other Republicans from both chambers that will challenge the results due to unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Conner Desilets / Interlochen Public Radio

In a flurry of action at the end of the Legislative Session in Lansing Monday, State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) was let back into the Republican caucus in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

The Iron Pig Smokehouse in Gaylord and Friske’s Farm Market in Antrim County have repeatedly defied health and safety protocols during the pandemic despite enforcement from their local health department.


After a lot of action in the Spring, the state legislature has been quiet on COVID-19 for months. Instead many have focused on legal and political battles.

Now legislators on both sides say that gridlock over the pandemic is likely to continue.

Lester Graham

Republican-led State House and Senate committees met today to vote themselves subpoena power to examine the conduct of the election. The vote by the joint House and Senate oversight committees fell along party lines.

Michigan’s junior Democratic Senator Gary Peters has won reelection to the U.S. Senate—eking victory out of a razor-thin margin. Before the election, polls showed Peters could retain his seat, but that the race would be tight. 

According to unofficial election results, Republican John Roth has kept Michigan’s 104th State House District red.


Roth won a clear victory for the GOP yesterday in a race that has been increasingly competitive in recent elections. 


Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services is lowering the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings and sending the Traverse City region back to Phase 4 of the MISafeStart Plan. The move comes as the state sees record-high COVID cases.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The race for northern Michigan’s 104th district could decide which party controls the state house.

Interlochen Public Radio

The race for Grand Traverse County's 104th district could decide which party controls the Michigan House of Representatives.

Kendra Carr / Interlochen Public Radio

More than just the presidency is at stake in November's general election. Grand Traverse County's 104th District in the state house is one of four seats that Democrats want to flip to get a partisan majority.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Jill Biden, wife of Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, spoke in Traverse City on Tuesday.

A crowd of over 100 people wearing masks and sitting six-feet apart listened outside Right Brain Brewery as Biden called for early in-person and mail-in voting.

“We have to show them we’re not gonna sit by and just watch what happens. We’re going to decide what happens by voting today,” she said.

Biden said her husband would unify the country if elected. Chasten Buttigieg, Traverse City native and husband of former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, also spoke.