November 2006 News
Democrats win major races in Houghton County with 52% voter turnout
By Michele Anderson
HOUGHTON -- Despite a voter turnout of only 52.15% of the 23,194 registered voters in
Houghton County, Democrats scored victories in the major races. Houghton County
confidence in Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, giving her 6,497 votes
(54.21%) to 5,275 (44.02%) for her major challenger, Republican Dick DeVos.
Granholm writes in an email letter to constituents on Wednesday, Nov. 8: "This is a victory
for the single mom in Marquette who worries about how to make sure her daughter can afford
to go to college. This is a victory for the laid off worker in Livonia who saw his family’s
health care benefits disappear with his job. This is a victory for young people across our
state who want nothing more than to find good jobs here when they graduate from college."
The Associated Press reported late Wednesday evening, Nov. 8, that the victory of James Webb over Sen. George Allen in Virginia assures the Democrats of a majority of 51 to 49 in the U. S. Senate. Added to the Democratic victories for the U.S. House of
Representatives decided on Tuesday, confirmation of this final Senate vote gives the party a ruling majority in both chambers of Congress for the first time since 1994.*
the national trend is reflected in the victory of U.S. Senator Debbie
Stabenow (D), who received 6,398 (53.52%) votes from Houghton County, contributing to
her victory over her Republican opponent Michael Bouchard, who received 5,286
Houghton County votes (44.22%). The 7,686 County votes for U.S. Representative Bart
Stupak (D) (64.59%) nearly doubled those for his Republican challenger Don
Hooper, who received 3,914 (32.89%). Green Party candidate David J. Newland
received 125 Houghton County votes (1.05%). The three candidates for this
Congressional seat recently spoke at a forum at Michigan Tech.
Senator Mike Prusi (D) who retained his seat in the election, received 7,374
votes (63.11%) in Houghton County, as opposed to his Republican
opponent Pete Mackin's 4,258 (36.44%).
voters also showed strong support for Hancock's Mike Lahti in the race for the 110th District
seat in the
Michigan House of Representatives. Lahti received 7,429 (62.66%) Houghton County
toward his victory over Republican Dave Schmidt's 4,048 (34.14%) votes. Lahti will give up his
position as Houghton County Board Chair to succeed term-ended Rich Brown
(D-Bessemer), who currently holds this State Representative position.**
Republicans Terri Lynn Land, Michigan Secretary of State, and Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox
won re-election in Michigan. Houghton County voters gave Land 7,068 votes
(60.44%) over Democrat Carmella Sabaugh's 4,336 (37.08%) and Green Party
candidate Lynn Meadows' 279 votes (2.39%). Cox received 5,920 votes ( 51.92%) in
Houghton County to 5,010 (43.94%) for Democrat Amos Williams.
In the race for Mike Lahti's vacant District 3 Houghton County Commissioner
seat, Democrat Anton Pintar was the victor, with 1,486 votes (61.58%) over
Republican John E. Condon's 916 votes (37.96%).
In his campaign flyer Pintar listed his goals for the Houghton County Board as including the
following: making progress under severe budget limitations and working with the State to
increase revenue sharing; continuing growth through economic development; emergency
preparedness; cooperating with local governments in District 3; working to maintain vision
screening in local schools; improving veterans' services in Houghton County; cooperating
with local schools and universities, state government and business to improve educational
and employment opportunities; enhancing online services at the County Web site.
has been active in the Houghton County Democrats' effort to support the party's
candidates in this landmark election, which has resulted in Democrats achieving
a majority in both the U.S. House and Senate. Houghton County Democrats Chair
Janet Metsa congratulated him and other victorious Democrats in a recent email
"Congratulations to our victorious candidates at local, State, and Federal levels. And thank you to our Keweenaw county commissioner candidate; we appreciate your
effort," Metsa wrote. "Thank you also to all of our volunteers who
made phone calls, put up yard signs, knocked on doors, manned the headquarters
office, encouraged friends and family to vote, and voted for our candidates."
One other contested County Commission race, for District 5, resulted in the
re-election of Commissioner Paul Luoma (D), who received 1,506 votes (51.54%) to
Republican challenger Matt E. Huuki's 1,400 votes (47.91%).
The Hancock City Council filled four open at-large seats with a total of
4,700 votes as follows: Lisa McKenzie was re-elected with 875 votes (18.62%);
James Hainault will join the Council with 740 (15.74%); Thomas Gemignani will
take the third seat with 722 votes (15.36%); Ted Belej will take the fourth with
621 votes (13.21%). The three other candidates missed election by rather small
margins: Terry D. Monson received 620 votes (13.19%), only one vote less than
Belej; Thomas Vichich received 580 (12.34%); Ann E. Pace received 541 (11.51%).
With 820 "No" votes against 599 in favor, Hancock City voters defeated a proposal to delete a "development" ordinance which
says the city may fund up to one-half of the costs for water, sewer and road infrastructure for new development.
The proposal would have put the responsibility for these costs on the developer.
A total of 3,536 votes were cast for the four open at-large seats on the
Houghton City Council. Three incumbent Councilmen were re-elected as follows:
Eric S. Peterson, 832 votes (23.53%); Gernot A. Joachim, 689 (19.49%); Robert X.
Megowen, 671 (18.98%). Lee G. Hauswirth joins the Council with 754 votes
(21.32%). Incumbent Michael T. Butvilas, 577 votes (16.32%) was not
Houghton County voters voted "Yes" on three Michigan ballot proposals,
reflecting the statewide results. These were Proposal 1 (Conservation Funds),
approved with 8,885 votes to 2,228 against; Proposal 2
(Affirmative Action Ban), approved with 6,813 votes to 4,609 voting
"No"*** ; Proposal 4 (Private Property), 9,590 votes over 1,950. They voted "No" on Proposal 3 (A Hunting Season for Mourning
Doves), 6,805 to 4,764, and Proposal 5 (Mandatory School Funding Levels), 7,403
to 3, 996.
The Houghton County Veterans Proposal A, which provides an increase of .1 mills for a county department of veterans’ affairs,
was approved by the voters, with 6,584 votes over 4,468. Both Houghton and
Keweenaw County voters defeated the special proposal to provide more funding for
the Copper Country Intermediate School District programs in special education.
Editor's Notes: Numbers reported here are unofficial counts until approved by
the Voting Canvassing Board. Write-in votes are not included here since the
names were not available at the time of publication.
*The Associated Press reported late Wednesday evening, Nov. 8, that the
victory of James Webb over Sen. George Allen in Virginia assures the Democrats
of a majority of 51 to 49 in the U. S. Senate. See "Dems complete election sweep of Congress."
**See Mike Lahti's Oct. 21 Keweenaw Now Viewpoints
column on his candidacy.
***See the article, "Proposal 2 faces court challenge, U-M
opposition," which says the new constitutional amendment against
Affirmative Action is already being challenged in court by opponents, who
include the President of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman.
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