Northern Michigan Elections & Government

Dan Wanschura

Elections were held across Michigan on Tuesday, and school bonds were on many ballots.

Unofficial election results show that school bonds in Ludington and Leland passed, but a $47.8 million proposal for Benzie County Central Schools narrowly failed by 114 votes, or just under 2 percentage points. Another proposal in Kingsley Area Schools overwhelmingly failed with 73 percent of voters saying ‘no.’

Grand Traverse County Commissioners
Taylor Wizner

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners meeting was nearly cancelled yesterday because they couldn’t decide on whether to hear an agenda item on the new prayer policy.

Commissioner Betsy Coffia wanted the board to clarify the policy for her and the public. Other commissioners said the policy was clearly spelled out and any more discussion would be a waste of their time.

Ultimately, the board was split on the vote and couldn’t break the tie.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer visits Traverse City
Taylor Wizner

Governor Gretchen Whitmer met with employees, local business leaders and community members at TentCraft shipping facility in Traverse City on Monday.

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners approved two controversial policies today during a meeting that lasted seven hours.  

Dan Wanschura

UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS: Updated 11/7/18 10:00 a.m.:

Governor: Democrat Gretchen Whitmer

O'Malley wins 101st house seat

Nov 7, 2018
David Cassleman

A former radio personality has won the race for the 101st state house district.

Jack O’Malley was the longtime morning host on radio station WTCM in Traverse City until he signed off earlier this year. O’Malley and his opponent – Democrat Kathy Wiejaczka – are both political newcomers.

Tuesday night, Wiejaczka said she was not ready to concede the race until the results are official but she enjoyed the experience of running for office.

Aaron Selbig

The candidates for the 101st state house district met at the annual Cherry Pie Debates in Glen Arbor Thursday night. Democrat Kathy Wiejaczka and Republican Jack O’Malley are running for the seat.

The candidates disagreed on Proposal 1, a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan. O’Malley said he’s against Prop 1 because the ballot language is flawed, and the law would be difficult to change in the future.

Aaron Selbig

A new federal law requiring stricter background checks could force some child care providers out of business. Starting in October, all adults living in a home with a day care will have to be cleared by the F.B.I.

The new regulations forbid anyone convicted of a violent crime – or any crime against children – from living in a day care home. Anyone with a misdemeanor drug conviction would be banned for five years.

David Cassleman

Jack O’Malley spent decades as a morning radio host in northern Michigan. He signed off at WTCM-FM for the final time in April. Now he wants a new job in the state House of Representatives.

 


David Cassleman

Michigan Democrats hope to win back seats in the state House of Representatives this election. To do that, they’ll need to win districts like northern Michigan’s 101st, which was last won by a Democrat a decade ago. 

Kjoles

A northern Michigan community lost 40 percent of its population between 2016 and 2017, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Fife Lake Township could soon lose tens of thousands of dollars in state funding due to the change. 

Sieting loses recall election in landslide

May 9, 2018
Aaron Selbig

The president of the village of Kalkaska has been removed from office.

Jeff Sieting made headlines a year ago when some of his anti-Muslim social media posts went viral. On Facebook, Sieting compared Islam to “a flesh-eating bacteria,” and called for nuclear weapons to be used on Muslim cities.

A recall effort began soon after the posts came to light, and yesterday, Kalkaska voters chose a new leader to replace Sieting.


Aaron Selbig

A technicality could leave Democrats with no candidate on the primary ballot for northern Michigan’s congressional district.  

State election officials say Traverse City Democrat Matt Morgan made an error on the forms used to gather signatures. Most of the sheets listed the campaign’s post office box instead of a required street address. 

 


David Cassleman

Democrats have struggled to find candidates to run for office in Grand Traverse County. 

In recent elections, Democrats let most seats on the county Board of Commissioners go unchallenged. 

Radio host Jack O’Malley running for state House

Mar 7, 2018
WTCM

A longtime radio personality is running for the state House in northern Michigan. WTCM-FM morning host Jack O’Malley announced Tuesday he’s running as a Republican for the 101st District.

The seat, which spans from Ludington to Northport, is open this fall. Current Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) announced last month he’s running for the state Senate instead of re-election.

State Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) made a tough choice last month. He decided not to run for re-election in the Michigan House of Representatives. Instead, he’s running for the state Senate. 

It’s a decision that has disrupted two competitive political races in northern Michigan. 

 


Aaron Selbig

State Rep. Curt VanderWall has announced he won’t run for re-election and will instead run for the state Senate. That means the race for the 101st District seat is wide open. 

One of northern Michigan’s most competitive state House districts will have an open seat this fall.  

Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) has announced he will not seek re-election in the 101st District, which spans from Northport to Ludington. 

VanderWall is instead running for the open 35th District state Senate seat. Twelve counties make up that large Senate district, including Leelanau, Wexford, Crawford and Ogemaw Counties.  

Cheyna Roth

A group of state lawmakers is proposing to end public elections for university boards in Michigan and to give that power entirely to the governor. 

The people who govern Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University are elected by the public. The state’s 12 other public universities have board members that are appointed by the governor. 

 


A former state Supreme Court Chief Justice has ended his campaign for one of Michigan's seats in the U.S. Senate. Republican Bob Young announced last week that he was withdrawing his name from consideration. 

His departure means three Republicans remain in the race. They’re hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is running for a fourth term. 

Listen to an interview below with the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta, who discusses how this news affects the race. 


This summer a man hanged himself to death in the Grand Traverse County jail. Officers found Alan Halloway dead in his cell in July. It took three hours for corrections officers to discover his body. Officers were supposed to check Halloway's cell every hour, but did not do so, according to a report by the Michigan Sheriffs Association.

 


We’ve Got Issues: Previewing the governor’s race

Oct 16, 2017
Joe Ross

Candidates for governor are on the campaign trail in Michigan. They’re raising money, giving speeches and trying to get support before the primary election next August.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is term-limited, so it’s an open seat race for the first time since 2010. 

A ballot initiative aims to change the way Michigan draws the boundaries of legislative districts following the census. 

Redistricting can have a big impact on the state’s politics by affecting the demographics of districts. Right now, state lawmakers are in charge of drawing the maps for state and congressional districts.

Kalkaska activists ready to recall Sieting

Aug 31, 2017
Dan Wanschura

A group of Kalkaska residents says their community supports a recall of village president Jeff Sieting.

Kalkaska for Peace formed after posts on Sieting’s Facebook page went viral in June. In one post, Sieting compared Islam to “a flesh-eating bacteria,” and called for nuclear weapons to be used on Muslim cities.

“We were very concerned about the type of publicity that Kalkaska was receiving, and we wanted to do something about it,” says organizer Elizabeth Dunham.

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