LANSING (AP) – Michigan voters went to the polls in the mood to split their votes between Republicans and Democrats. But where they had a choice between a woman and a man, they usually chose the woman, regardless of party.

The result: Democrat Jennifer Granholm was elected the state’s first female governor, Republican Terri Lynn Land was elected secretary of state, Republican Candice Miller was elected to the U.S. House, a record 11 women were elected to the state Senate, and women won election to the Michigan Supreme Court and to each of the state education boards.

Only the state House saw a decrease in the number of women elected, dropping from 27 to 23 when new lawmakers take office in January. But even there history was made, as House Democrats on Friday elected Rep.-elect Diane Byrum to be their leader, making her the first woman to head a legislative caucus.

“To me, what this election was a lot about was the true emergence of women in political power,” said Craig Ruff of Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing think tank. It’s “a major step in the direction of what’s inevitable – that nearly half of all the elective posts that we fill will be by women.”

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