6A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 5, 1998
Granholm: I earned spot on merits
DETROIT (AP) - Michigan's attorney general-
elect Jennifer Granholm said yesterday that she's
thrilled to be the first woman to hold the spot, but
stressed that she won it for her qualifications, not her
"I have been saying all along that I am the most
qualified person for this position and I have very
good credentials," said Granholm, Wayne County's
"This is not a case where we were asking some-
body to bend the rules so we could sneak someone
Still Granholm says she's pleased to blaze a trail.
"The great news about breaking through the glass
ceiling, for all of us, is that it can never be replaced,"
Granholm woke yesterday morning to find the
returns clear in her race against Republican John
On election night, she went to sleep before the race
was over. But by yesterday afternoon, with 99 percent
of precincts counted, Granholm had 52 percent to
Smietanka's 48 percent.
Granholm said she received a congratulatory call
from outgoing Attorney General Frank Kelley in his
hospital bed. Kelley, who will retire at the end of the
"l...am the most
qua lified for this
position and I have
very good credentials'
- Jennifer Granholm
Michigan Attorney General-Elect
year, is recovering from triple bypass surgery.
Granholm was a toddler when Kelley was first
appointed attorney general in 1961. She said yester-
day that Kelley deserves some of the credit for her
victory because he appeared in a Granholm ad that
criticized Republican attacks against her.
"The combination of him as a trusted consumer
advocate saying this is a dishonest ad ... with him
saying 'I will endorse Jennifer Granholm,' that was a
great boost to the campaign," she said.
Granholm said she regretted the negative cam-
paigning that plagued the attorney general race,
including accusations by Republicans that she was
inflating her resume. Smietanka was also angered by
Democratic ads, saying they unfairly brought up
some late child support payments and lied about the
amount he donated to his own campaign.
"I wish the parties could get together to agree that's
not the way to go," Granholm said. "We need to run
campaigns where we stress positive issues ... rather
than trashing another candidate."
Smietanka's spokesperson, Jennifer Murray, said
Smietanka was spending time with his family yester-
"John wishes Jennifer Granholm and her family
well, and he will do whatever he can to make sure the
attorney general's office works well for the people of
Michigan," she said.
Granholm said she will wrap up her work in Wayne
County over the next few months at the same time she
is learning about the attorney general's office.
She wa: vague about specific changes she plans to
make. Instead, she said she wants to meet with people
working in the office and involve them in her deci-
Granholm, who lives in Northville, said she plans
to commute to Lansing and also work some days in
the attorney general's office in Detroit. The job
comes with a driver; Granholm said she'll equip the
car with a phone and a laptop computer so she can
work during her commute.
Michigan Democratic Attorney Generalelect Jennifer Granhoim greets
supporters at her election night headquarters in Detroit Tuesday night.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Michigan's
congressional Democrats said they
were re-elected by wide margins
because their message got out despite
President Clinton's troubles and the
Republican sweep of the governorship
and state Legislature.
Nationally, the Republicans have a
slender majority in the U.S. House. But
not in Michigan where ticket splitters
allow many congressional Democrats
to rack up electoral margins well above
their party base.
All 10 Democratic incumbents to
the U.S. House were returned to
office despite an aggressive adver-
tising campaign by the Republican
state and national parties to turn the
tide in several races. The six
Republican incumbents won by even
)litters put Dems in House
Take first-term representative Debbie
Stabenow (D-Lansing) for example,
who represents the 8th District reaching
from Lansing to the outskirts of Flint
and Ann Arbor. Gov. John Engler car-
ried every county in her district, yet she
defeated her Republican opponent by
an 18-point margin.
Ginny Bugajski voted for both Engler
and Stabenow. "She has been so visible
in the district. I usually vote straight
Republican. But I like the way she's han-
dled herself. She seems very commit-
ted," said the Brighton mother of five.
A similar ticket-splitting pattern was
evident in other congressional races
Representative David Bonior (D-Mt.
Clemens), the No. 2 Democrat in the
House, won by 52 percent of the vote
- the slimmest margin of any of the
Democrats. Rep. Sander Levin (D-
Southfield) won by a 14-point margin
and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee)
had a 19-point margin. All three dis-
tricts also represented constituents that
solidly elected Engler.
Most Michiganders also said Clinton
was not a factor in their vote for
Congress, according to an exit poll con-
ducted by Voter News Service.
"The Republicans spent their time
talking about impeaching the president"
and trying to tag other Democrats with
the president's problems, representative
John Dingell (D-Dearborn), dean of
Michigan's congressional Democrats,
said yesterday. "People just didn't buy it."
Themes in the Democrat's message
included improving health care and
shoring up Social Security. "There was
a feeling the nation needs to tackle
problems that are relevant to people's
lives," Levin said.
The next threat to House Democrats is
the expected loss of one of the state's 16
congressional seats after the 2000 cen-
sus. Redistricting is much more likely,
change boundaries in Democratic subu-
ban districts near Detroit.
Republicans spent hundreds of thou-
sands of dollars in advertising against
Levin, Bonior and Stupak. The Levin
campaign estimated that TV attack ads
paid for by the national Republican
Party topped $700,000 and, combined
with several hundred thousand dollars
in ads run by Touma, surpassed what
Levin spent on TV ads.
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