Michigan gubernatorial election, 2006
|Elections in Michigan|
The Michigan gubernatorial election of 2006 was one of the 36 U.S. gubernatorial elections held November 7, 2006. Incumbent Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm was re-elected over Republican businessman Dick DeVos, Libertarian Gregory Creswell, Green Douglas Campbell, and U.S. Taxpayer Candidate Bhagwan Dashairya. The margin (rounded to the nearest percent) was 56% (Granholm), 42% (DeVos), 1% (Creswell), 1% (Campbell) and <1% (Dashairya).
- 1 Background
- 2 Candidates
- 3 Primary contests
- 4 Criticisms of Governor Granholm
- 5 Criticisms of the DeVos campaign
- 6 Lieutenant governor candidates
- 7 Tax statements for 2006 candidates
- 8 Campaign ads
- 9 The Detroit Effect
- 10 Notable endorsements
- 11 Debates
- 12 Election results
- 13 Polling
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
After her first election as Governor in 2002, Granholm was widely seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. However, due in large part to a weak Michigan economy and high unemployment, her popularity dropped sharply after she took office in 2003. In August 2006, her approval rating was 47 percent. Former Alticor president Dick DeVos, a son of billionaire Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, a Republican, declared his candidacy against Granholm on June 2, 2005.
DeVos brought significant assets to the race. A multimillionaire, he had developed substantial political contacts with the full participation of his wife, former Michigan Republican Party chairman Betsy DeVos, despite which, fully 85% of the DeVos campaign's contributions were from DeVos' inheritance. As the 2006 election approached, the DeVos family was listed among the biggest Republican campaign contributors in Michigan.
The DeVos and Campbell campaigns each made a major issue of the state's economy. DeVos assailed the Single Business Tax and the economic doldrums & job outsourcing which occurred during Granholm's first term; Campbell assailed the $12 billion taken from Michigan's taxpayers and appropriated to the military siege of Iraq (which he calls "Duhbbya's Folly") and advocated for a local currency, independent of the U.S. dollar which he and running mate David Skrbina say is in imminent jeopardy of collapse. Granholm responded that her policies have saved thousands of jobs. She also attacked DeVos's partisanship, wealth, and tenure at Alticor. DeVos, Campbell and Granholm all assailed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative which was exclusively supported by Creswell, and passed by a landslide.
- Democrat Jennifer Granholm, incumbent governor and former attorney general
- Republican Dick DeVos, former Alticor/Amway president
- Libertarian Greg Creswell
- Green Party Douglas Campbell – engineer from Ferndale
- Constitution Party (listed on ballot as U.S. Taxpayers Party) Bhagwan Dashairya
Defeated primary candidate
- Republican Dr. Louis Boven, a Holland, MI chiropractor, was running a write-in campaign for the Republican primary. Boven tried to make the primary ballot but fell short of the 15,000 signatures needed to have a name placed on the ballot for governor.
Granholm had no opposition in the primary election, which was held August 8.
DeVos was originally facing two other Republicans; state Representative Jack Hoogendyk of Portage and state Senator Nancy Cassis of Novi, both dropped out by summer 2005. A political unknown, Louis Boven tried to challenge him in the primary, but failed to meet Michigan election requirements to get on the ballot. Boven later ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign.
Criticisms of Governor Granholm
Opponents of Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm pointed out that every other state gained jobs in 2005–2006 except Michigan. The plight of Michigan's automobile and other manufacturing industries was so bad during this period that candidate DeVos felt forced to criticize his fellow Republican, President George W. Bush, for the President's disiniclination to meet with top automaking executives to discuss the state of the industry (August 23, 2006). Bush did announce afterwards that he will meet with automakers after the November election.
Granholm was also attacked for allegedly supporting Michigan's single business tax (SBT), something that no other state uses. Granholm responded that she did not support the SBT, but rather opposed plans by the Republican-controlled state legislature to eliminate the tax without replacing the lost revenue.
DeVos complained, on March 9, 2006, that a public service announcement telling residents who to contact if they cannot afford to pay their heating costs during Michigan's freezing winter, produced by DTE Energy Co. and given by Granholm was in his opinion a Granholm campaign commercial in disguise.
Criticisms of the DeVos campaign
Some of DeVos' critics asserted that his leadership of highly controversial Alticor, the parent company of Amway and Quixtar, the world's largest multi-level marketing organization, should have disqualified him from holding public office. Critics of DeVos also claimed that under his management Alticor outsourced thousands of jobs to China while eliminating 1,400 jobs in Michigan. The DeVos campaign responded that more than 400 high paying jobs were created in Michigan to support the expansion of Alticor into China, and no product produced in China is even shipped to the United States. DeVos also says that no American job went to a Chinese worker. This would show that Alticor has not directly outsourced jobs, but is growing into a global company. It is unclear whether Alticor considered exporting goods from Michigan to China.
After initially opposing Governor Granholm's policy of ordering the lowering of flags at half-staff to honor Michigan soldiers who died in action in the Iraq War, DeVos reversed himself on June 7, 2006 after receiving several complaints from veterans and their families.
DeVos made economic issues a priority. Detroit News columnist Laura Berman asserted in July 2006 that the candidate was coy when asked about social issues. DeVos was also described as being silent on environmental issues.
DeVos' plan to eliminate a tax on business equipment which funds local governments and schools raised the ire of some local officials.
Some Michigan Republicans were described as supporting Granholm.
Lieutenant governor candidates
Incumbent Lieutenant Governor John D. Cherry was Granholm's running mate on the Democratic side.
Tax statements for 2006 candidates
Granholm and her husband earned about $178,000 last year in gross income and paid $35,000 in state and federal taxes, according to published 2005 tax returns. DeVos has not disclosed his personal tax statements. Without releasing actual documents, it is unclear whether the information contained in the tax statements would reveal any conflicts of interest for DeVos as governor of Michigan. A conflict did emerge previously involving the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids of which DeVos is a partial owner, due to some conferences the state government has held there. Michigan Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer and the Granholm campaign criticized DeVos for not releasing his tax returns. DeVos campaign spokesman John Truscott said voters are more worried about the economy than what's being paid in taxes. Neither Creswell nor Campbell released personal tax statements to the media.
DeVos spent at least $39 million on campaign ads, and $41 million overall, which is more money spent than any other gubernatorial candidate in Michigan History. The Granholm campaign spent at least $13.8 million. The combined money spent by both campaigns made this election the most expensive gubernatorial election in Michigan history. Because of the funds DeVos spent out of his own pockets, he was not eligible for public funds like the Granholm campaign.
A political ad aired by the DeVos campaign in late July raised the ire of the Detroit Free Press  and Lansing State Journal  newspapers alleging selective editing of their newspaper articles in a negative fashion to Granholm.
In September 2006, the DeVos campaign asked the media to stop airing anti-DeVos ads created by the Democratic party (representing Jennifer Granholm). The CBS affiliate in Cadillac, Michigan is the only known television station to stop airing the ad.
In October 2006, the Creswell campaign spent over $10,000 on radio advertising, which while small, was the most spent on a such advertising by any Michigan gubernatorial campaign outside the Democratic or Republican parties. The largest investment was made in advertisements on Detroit AM Radio stations WJR and WXYT. These commercials specifically targeted Devos and Granholm by referring to them as candidates of “The two old parties,” and berating them for supporting state-supported preferences based on race and sex: A clear reference to MCRI.
In a controversial move, the Michigan Republican Party issued a mailing blaming Granholm for a triple murder committed by two people one of whom was mistakenly paroled. The murders led to changes in procedures and the firing of several parole workers.
The Detroit Effect
On August 25, 2006, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pledged to actively campaign for Granholm and utilize the campaign team which got him re-elected as mayor. The Michigan Democratic Party held their state convention in city of Detroit at Cobo Hall while the Michigan Republican Party held their convention in the City of Novi in Oakland County at the new Rock Financial Showplace. The Libertarian Party of Michigan held their convention at the Comfort Inn in Chelsea. The Green Party had their convention at the Wolverine Dilworth Inn in Boyne City, Michigan.
- Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
- Many Michigan Teamsters Unions 
- Former boxer Muhammad Ali 
- United Food and Commercial Workers
- Michigan Fraternal Order of Police 
- Michigan League of Conservation Voters 
- The Sierra Club 
- Michigan Nurses Association
- EMILY's List
- Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
- The Alpena News 
- The Ann Arbor News 
- The Battle Creek Enquirer 
- The Bay City Times 
- The Detroit Free Press 
- The Flint Journal 
- The Grand Haven Tribune 
- Greenville Daily News 
- The Huron Daily Tribune
- The Kalamazoo Gazette 
- The Lansing State Journal
- Ludington Daily News 
- Macomb Evening News 
- The Michigan Daily
- The Muskegon Chronicle
- The Petoskey News-Review
- The Port Huron Times-Herald
- The Saginaw News
- The State News
- Sturgis Journal 
- The Traverse City Record-Eagle
- President George W. Bush
- Former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani
- U.S. Senator of Arizona John McCain
- Michigan Chamber of Commerce 
- Michigan Farm Bureau 
- Michigan Association of Realtors 
- Police Officers Association of Michigan 
- Lee Iacocca
- Michigan Right to Life 
- Michigan Citizens for Traditional Values
- Michigan Bankers Association 
- American Bikers Aiming Toward Education 
- The Adrian Daily Telegram 
- The Detroit News 
- The Grand Rapids Press 
- The Jackson Citizen-Patriot
- Livingston County Daily Press 
- The Macomb Daily 
- The Oakland Press 
- St. Joseph Herald-Palladium 
- Michigan Manufacturers Association 
- Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce 
- The Midland Daily News
The DeVos and Granholm campaigns agreed to three televised debates. Granholm and DeVos appeared together October 12 at the Detroit Economic Club in which each candidate delivered their job plans.
The first one was October 2 at WKAR-TV in East Lansing. Minor-party candidates were excluded from the WKAR debate because none of them met WKAR's 5% threshold of support in polls, despite the fact the virtually none of the pollsters even asked voters about them. (see "Polls", below) Each of the televised debates were constrained in scope and format by a ten-page bilateral agreement  between the Granholm and DeVos campaigns, which Campbell, Creswell and Dashairya were not part of. Both candidates spent the hour trading charges and countercharges. Detroit News pollster Ed Sarpolus indicated that there was no clear winner in the debate, but Bill Rustem, senior vice president of the nonpartisan policy firm Public Sector Consultants in Lansing, favored Granholm. The consensus of pundits Bill Ballenger, George Bullard, Kathy Barks Hoffman and Rick Albin and capital correspondent Tim Skubick, speaking on the October 6 WKAR-television program Off the Record, was that both DeVos and Granholm emerged losers, losing 2 and 4 percentage points' support after the event. No major gaffes or zingers came out in the debate. Some of the positions were made clear on embryonic stem cell research  and abortion. No major gaffes came out in the debate, but one minor zinger was made by Granholm about DeVos' investment in Alterra, a chain of nursing homes which sexually abused and neglected its patients.
The second was October 10 at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. This debate was more structured than the first debate, but still only included two of the five gubernatorial candidates. DeVos was more aggressive than before, declaring that Granholm had lied about him having a controlling stake in Alterra Health Care, an elder-care company that suppressed information about the abuse of residents by its employees. According to SEC filings, DeVos and his investment partners jointly owned 40% of Alterra stock totalling $173 million. The chairman of Alterra's board, while a close associate of DeVos, nevertheless maintains that DeVos had no part of running the company himself.
DeVos also asserted that he had convinced President Bush to set a date to meet with the three major Michigan auto companies. Granholm responded that she didn't believe that was true. DeVos admitted after the debate that he misspoke; the President agreed to have a meeting at some point after the election, but did not confirm a date. On October 24, two weeks after this debate was held, a mid-November date was set for the meeting.
The third televised debate was October 16 at WXYZ-TV in Southfield. Unlike the previous debates, this one had an invited studio audience of 30 undecided voters, some of whom asked questions to the participating candidates. Like the two previous debates, only two of the five candidates were admitted. Granholm and DeVos sparred on various issues including college tuition, Canadian trash, business taxes, President Bush and negative ads, while Creswell supporters picketed outside.
During the opening statements of the third debate, Gov. Granholm attacked DeVos for using pictures of dead children as a campaign tool against her. However, it has come to show that Devos was not the person using the pictures, but supporters of him, who were cheering for him outside of the debate studio.
CMN-TV (of Troy) debate
This debate was broadcast on October 18 from CMN-TV in Troy at 5:30 PM. It was the only televised debate to which all gubernatorial candidates were invited. It also was only the only televised debate in which the majority of gubernatorial candidates participated. This debate included Libertarian Gregory Creswell, Green Douglas Campbell, and U.S. Taxpayer Candidate Bhagwan Dashairya (Dashairya identified himself as a Constitution Party (listed on ballot as U.S. Taxpayers Party) candidate). 
|Michigan gubernatorial election, 2006|
|Democratic||Jennifer Granholm (Incumbent)||2,142,513||56.36%||+4.95%|
DeVos, buoyed by the political ads he ran, led in the polls for most of the Summer. DeVos' lead eroded when Granholm ads started running and Granholm had built up a lead as voters found out more about the candidates culminating in the three debates, and as political fortunes soured for Republicans across the country.
|Source||Date||Granholm (D)||DeVos (R)||Creswell (L)||Campbell (G)||Dashairya (T)|
|EPIC-MRA||Nov 6, 2006||49%||42%|
|Strategic Vision||Nov 6, 2006||52%||42%||(no option)||(no option)||(no option)|
|Mason-Dixon||Nov 5, 2006||52%||38%||0–2%||0–2%||0–2%|
|Survey USA||Nov 5, 2006||51%||45%||2%||1%||1%|
|Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll||Nov 5, 2006||54%||41%|
|EPIC-MRA||Nov 3, 2006||49%||42%|
|EPIC-MRA||Nov 2, 2006||52%||43%|
|Strategic Vision||Nov 2, 2006||50%||42%||(no option)||(no option)||(no option)|
|EPIC-MRA||Oct 31, 2006||52%||42%|
|Oct 31, 2006||51.6%||42.7%||0–5.7%||0–5.7%||0–5.7%|
|EPIC-MRA||Oct 27, 2006||48%||43%||1%||1%|
|Research 2000||Oct 25, 2006||50%||40%|
|Survey USA||Oct 25, 2006||52%||45%||1%||1%|
|Rasmussen||Oct 25, 2006||53%||42%|
|Strategic Vision||Oct 24, 2006||47%||43%|
|Zogby/WSJ||Oct 19, 2006||50.6%||44.1%|
|Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll||Oct 15, 2006||49%||41%|
|EPIC-MRA(raw data)||Oct 13, 2006||51%||42%||2%|
|Survey USA||Oct 9, 2006||50%||45%||1%||1%||1%|
|Rasmussen||Oct 8, 2006||49%||42%|
|EPIC-MRA||Oct 5, 2006||46%||40%||1%||1%|
|Zogby/WSJ||Sept 28, 2006||49.9%||40.8%|
|Strategic Vision||Sept 20, 2006||47%||46%|
|Survey USA||Sept 18, 2006||47%||47%||1%||2%||1%|
|EPIC-MRA||Sept. 14, 2006||50%||42%|
|Zogby/WSJ||Sept. 11, 2006||49.4%||44.0%|
|Rasmussen||Sept. 7, 2006||46%||48%|
|Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll||Sept. 3, 2006||46%||44%|
|Strategic Vision||August 29, 2006||48%||43%|
|Zogby/WSJ||August 28, 2006||50.8%||43.6%|
|EPIC-MRA||August 23, 2006||49%||42%||3%|
|Survey USA||August 22, 2006||47%||47%|
|Rasmussen||August 16, 2006||47%||46%|
|EPIC-MRA||August 16, 2006||50%||47%|
|Survey USA||August 8, 2006||42%||50%||6%|
|Rasmussen||August 1, 2006||42%||48%|
|Strategic Vision||July 27, 2006||44%||48%|
|EPIC-MRA||July 26, 2006||47%||44%|
|Zogby/WSJ||July 24, 2006||50.5%||44.4%|
|Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll||July 15, 2006||42%||47%|
|Zogby/WSJ||June 21, 2006||48.1%||46.2%|
|EPIC-MRA||June 21, 2006||44%||46%|
|Strategic Vision||June 21, 2006||41%||48%|
|Rasmussen||June 14, 2006||44%||42%|
|EPIC-MRA||June 12, 2006||40%||48%|
|Strategic Vision||May 24, 2006||42%||45%|
|EPIC-MRA||May 11, 2006||45%||46%|
|MRG of Lansing||May 1–9, 2006||43%||44%|
|Rasmussen||May 5, 2006||44%||43%|
|Strategic Vision||April 21, 2006||43%||42%|
|EPIC-MRA||April 11, 2006||43%||43%|
|Rasmussen||March 27, 2006||44%||44%|
|MRG of Lansing||March 22, 2006||43%||41%|
|Strategic Vision||March 15, 2006||50%||33%|
|EPIC-MRA||March 9, 2006||51%||41%|
|Rasmussen||Feb 14, 2006||44%||43%|
|EPIC-MRA||Feb 12, 2006||53%||36%|
|Strategic Vision||Feb 3, 2006||48%||34%|
|Rasmussen||Jan 20, 2006||49%||38%|
|Strategic Vision||Dec 22, 2005||46%||35%|
|Rasmussen||Dec 2, 2005||48%||36%|
|EPIC-MRA||Nov 29, 2005||58%||35%|
|Strategic Vision||Nov 21, 2005||44%||33%|
|EPIC-MRA||Oct 25, 2005||53%||30%|
|Strategic Vision||Oct 25, 2005||46%||35%|
|Strategic Vision||Sept 29, 2005||47%||33%|
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- See Dick and Jen Run by Tim Skubick from the University of Michigan Press
- Granholm for Governor campaign Website
- DeVos for Governor campaign Website
- Campbell for Governor campaign Website
- Dashairya for Governor campaign Website
- Dr. Louis Boven for Governor campaign Website