MI elects Democrat governor and first Muslim congresswoman

Blanche Robertson
November 8, 2018

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, the former Senate minority leader from East Lansing, defeated Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette in the race to replace outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder.

Whitmer, 47, was first elected to the Michigan State Senate in 2006 after serving in the Michigan House from 2000 to 2006. The people, she said, chose "hope and inclusion" along with "respect and collaboration" over divisive politics.

She will be inaugurated as governor during the swearing-in ceremony on January 1, 2019 in Lansing.

That made MI a top target for national Democrats. She disclosed during a debate on the abortion bill that she had been raped in college.

Republicans had controlled the governor's office and both chambers of the Michigan Legislature since racking up big victories in the 2010 midterm elections during Democratic President Barack Obama's tenure.

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"I thought that was so fearless. I think it's important for girls to see women in leadership positions", said Kristin Schrader, a 51-year-old marketing and communications officer for a Girl Scouts organization who voted for Whitmer and lives in Superior Township near Ann Arbor.

Whitmer ran as a pragmatic liberal who was comfortable working across the aisle in order to win support for policy initiatives.

Others who voted for Whitmer cited her pledge to press for a multibillion-dollar plan to improve Michigan's deteriorating roads.

Unofficial results showed Whitmer at 53% with 928,305 votes and Schuette at 44% with 770,948.

Polls are now open in most of MI where Democrats are trying to crack the Republican Party's hold on most statewide offices and congressional seats by fielding a slate of female candidates.

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