DETROIT — Michigan voted as expected for President Obama Tuesday, giving him an easier-than-expected victory over native son Mitt Romney.
With almost two-thirds of the vote counted, Mr. Obama had 1,674,792 votes to 1,391,227 for Mr. Romney, the son of George Romney, a popular three-term governor of Michigan in the 1960s.
Democrats also celebrated the victory of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who won a third term by trouncing Republican Pete Hoekstra, a former congressman from West Michigan, 1,782,568 to 1,163,155.
Few changes were expected in Michigan’s congressional delegation. U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R., Tipton) whose 7th District includes Monroe, Lenawee, and Hillsdale counties, was easily defeating Democrat Kurt Haskell, by 55 percent to 42 percent.
Most of the state’s other incumbents were also re-elected, but in Michigan’s First District, which includes the entire Upper Peninsula, freshman Republican Dan Benishek was locked in a cliffhanger with Democrat Gary McDowell, with the lead repeatedly changing hands and only a few hundred votes separating both men.
Republicans, however, seemed poised to keep control of the Michigan Supreme Court by a 4-3 margin. Incumbent GOP Justice Brian Zahra easily defeated Shelia Johnson, 51 percent to 40 percent, for a partial term.
His Republican colleague, Stephen Markman, seemed well on the way to winning another eight-year term on the court, as did a Democrat, Bridget Mary McCormack. Two other challengers, Republican Colleen O’Brien and Democrat Connie Kelley, trailed.
Democrats also were making gains in the Michigan House of Representatives, where they began the night trailing 64 seats to 46 seats. It seemed unlikely, however, that they could gain the 10 seats they would need to win control of the lower house.
In area races, Democrat Bill LaVoy, the executive director of Monroe Public Access Cable Television, had a solid lead of 62-38 percent over Republican Anne Rossio in the normally Democratic 17th District, which includes the city of Monroe.
In the 56th House district, which includes southwestern Monroe County, incumbent GOP legislator Dale Zorn of Ida had 60 percent of the vote to 40 percent for Democrat Larry Crider, with more than half the precincts in.
In the neighboring 57th district, incumbent Republican Nancy Jenkins had a lead over Democrat Jim Berryman, a former state senator, with less than half the vote in.
In the 58th House district, incumbent Republican Kenneth Kurtz of Coldwater easily beat Democrat Amaryllis Thomas. Mr. Kurtz had 70 percent with two-thirds of the vote counted.
Democrats had hoped to defeat House Speaker Jase Bolger (R., Marshall) after an election-rigging scandal, but the speaker prevailed in a close vote. However, he still faces possible indictment by a currently sitting one-woman grand jury.
Republicans also control the Michigan Senate, 26-12, but the state’s upper house do not face the voters until 2014.
— Jack Lessenberry
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