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Often overshadowed, hotly contested state legislature races have consequences for students

Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 28, 2008

With a group of first-year incumbent candidates now up for re-election, this year's races appear to be just as competitive.

Out of 39,191 votes cast, Democrat Marc Corriveau ousted Republican incumbent Mark Abbo by 911 votes during his first run in Michigan's 20th District in 2006.

Seeking re-election in the Northville and Plymouth Township areas this year, Corriveau is running against Republican Jerry Vorva, who previously served one term in the seat from 1992 to 1994. Prior to Corriveau's upset, the district had been held by Republicans since 1992.

Edging out a 181-vote victory over Democrat Lisa Brown in 2006, Republican David Law won't seek re-election in the 39th District this term. Law is foregoing his chance to run as an incumbent for a seat that represents West Bloomfield Township area, to run for Oakland County prosecutor in a different election. In her second campaign for the House seat, Brown, a real estate agent and mother of three will face Republican opponent Amy Peterman. Republicans representatives have held the seat for the past 16 years.

In the 65th District, Democratic incumbent Mike Simpson broke a 14-year GOP stronghold when he beat Republican incumbent Leslie Mortimer by 1,600 votes in 2006. Mortimer and Simpson squared off in an equally-competitive race in 2004, when Mortimer claimed her victory by just 1,099 votes. This year, Simpson is running against Blackman Township Supervisor Ray Snell in a district that includes large portions of Jackson County.

Though the campaigns of these candidates haven't received the same level of attention or funding, Bebow said he's seen a higher level of student awareness compared to earlier elections.

"Students want to know what the future holds when they get out of school, they want to know what the job options are, they want to know why things are the way they are," Bebow said. "And we're hearing tough questions from students that maybe we wouldn't have heard in the boom times of the late 1990s."