Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thank You Michigan! Granholm re-elected by wide margin

What does one say after a victory beyond your wildest dreams? I am too overwhelmed this morning to put it into words. And I can't stop smiling.

A picture paints a thousand words.

Granholm thanks supporters during her victory speech in Detroit.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm steamrolled to a decisive victory over Republican challenger Dick DeVos on Tuesday, slapping an exclamation point at the end of a campaign that broke spending records and left voters weary from its intensity and nonstop TV ads.

With 99 percent of all the votes counted, Granholm led with 56%, or 2,124,356 votes, compared to DeVos' 42%, or 1,601,907 votes. That tracked a poll of voters conducted Tuesday for the Free Press and WDIV-TV Local 4 that showed the incumbent with a surprisingly large lead.

And the news just gets better...

As a bonus, Granholm gained a Democratic majority in the state House, giving her friendly control in at least half of the Legislature, where she jousted with a Republican majority her first term.

The Senate would likely stay in Republican control.

Granholm repeatedly urged voters to elect a Democratic Legislature to pass her agenda, which includes a $4,000 state scholarship for college students.

And that we did. Thank you, Michigan- now maybe we can get some things moving forward.

More on the numbers- go read the whole Christoff article for a good write-up on this.

Despite a drumbeat of attacks against her, voters trusted Granholm more than they did Ada businessman DeVos, who spent at least $35 million of his own money in the race. She won by a margin that was far larger than her victory in 2002, when she was elected Michigan's first female governor.

The poll of voters, by Mitchell Research and Communications Inc. of East Lansing, showed Granholm crushing DeVos among important blocs of voters. She drew nearly 50% more female voters than he did. But she also drew more male voters and she attracted far more independents.

Also at play was the abortion issue, which Granholm, who supports abortion rights, played up in her TV ad campaign. The poll showed that while abortion opponents lined up behind DeVos by a 2-1 ratio, voters who support abortion rights favored Granholm 3-1.

J. Ann Selzer, who polled Michigan races this year for the Free Press, said a mark of DeVos' defeat was that he barely topped Granholm in western Michigan, supposedly his strongest base of support.

Selzer said the election was more of a battle than the final numbers show.

"In a way, they pitted men against women, southeastern Michigan against the rest of the state, and unions against nonunion households," said Selzer. "Jennifer Granholm won with big majorities with every group she was supposed to. And she earned votes from groups that were supposed to oppose her.

Being in the middle of all of this was one of the most exciting nights in my life. They saw fit to give me a media pass (ha!), so I have more pictures coming- of Granholm, of Stabenow- I was right in the front row for the victory speeches.

It was like something out of a dream.

As I was driving out of Detroit, the song "Here Comes the Sun" came on the radio and I just burst into tears. It will take me some time to digest it all- I dragged myself in the door at 3:30 am this morning after a harrowing drive through dense fog, and I am just wiped out, physically and emotionally.

One thing I have learned from all of this is I am not a reporter; I'm more of a pundit. And a photographer. Or something. I don't really know what I am or how I did all of this. I once said at MichLib, "I promise to feel this election at you", and right now the feelings are too strong... I'm sure I'll have more in the coming days, but for now I want to sit and reflect.

And smile.

Congratulations Governor. Congratulations Michigan. Ya done good.