Republican Bill Schuette won against Democratic candidate David Leyton in yesterday’s Michigan attorney general race. The election was called with Schuette leading with 53 percent of the vote to Leyton’s 43 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.
Schuette had consistently outscored Leyton in polls leading up to the election, and raised more than twice as much funding throughout the course of his campaign, according to the Detroit Free Press.
At the Michigan GOP’s “One Chance Election Night Party” last night at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel, Schuette told the crowd he was honored that the voters chose to elect him to office.
“I am both exhilarated about the outcome of this evening, and I am humbled,” Schuette said. “I am humbled … by the trust Michigan has put in me.”
After commending Leyton’s endeavors, Schuette turned his attention to his goals as Michigan’s next attorney general.
“We must put Michigan back on track,” Schuette said. “Our new Michigan needs to be a safe Michigan with less taxes, less spending, less government and more freedom.”
Throughout his campaign, Schuette — a current senior counsel at the private law firm Warner, Norcross & Judd — emphasized his tough stance on crime and his desire to create “safe communities” throughout the state.
“I got fed up and tired and just sick of the problems in Lansing,” Schuette said in an Oct. 26 interview with WLNS TV 6. “The lack of leadership and closing prisons, now more than 10 prisons, releasing dangerous criminals early, more than 8,000, and cutting the number of cops on the street.”
Schuette also focused on his breadth of political experience as a former Congressman, state senator and judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals. One of Schuette’s television advertisements described him as: “A Reagan Republican then, A Reagan Republican Now.”
Schuette will succeed Republican Attorney General Mike Cox, whose term expires this year and is prevented by term limits from running for re-election. Cox made a run for governor earlier this year, but was defeated in the Republican primary by Governor-elect Rick Synder.
Leyton, currently the Genessee County prosecutor, centered his campaign on his experience as a prosecutor and his lack of ties to Lansing. In a radio interview with WKZO earlier this month, Leyton criticized Schuette for being “shoulder to shoulder with special interests.”
“I’m a prosecutor, with that background that we talked about, and (Schuette) is a career politician,” Leyton said in the interview. “He’s been in and out of elected office for the last few years. When it comes to public safety, I’ve been on the front lines of that battle.”
Michael Traugott, professor of Communication Studies at the University, said in a phone interview last night that Schuette’s victory reflected Michigan’s high Republican voter turnout yesterday.
“I thought that Rick Synder would win the gubernatorial election, but I didn’t realize his coattails would be as long as they were,” Traugott said. “It’s a Republican night in Michigan and across the country, and (Schuette) has also benefitted from Snyder leading the ticket and his sizeable victory over Bernero.”
But the result of yesterday’s elections don’t necessarily indicate a long-term trend in Michigan politics, Traugott said.
“The electorate in Michigan has always been fairly evenly divided, and we’ve had Democrat and Republican attorney generals, Democrat and Republican governors,” Traugott said. “This happens to be a Republican year, and so the Republicans all up and down the ticket are benefitting.”
— Daily Staff Reporter Bethany Biron contributed reporting from Detroit.