County Democrats: Substantial gains made in general election

Democrats in Livingston County made substantial gains in their share of the vote on their way to helping President-Elect Joe Biden carry Michigan and win the presidency.

“Everyone who made phone calls, sent texts, left literature at the doors of voters, or put out a yard sign helped Joe Biden win the presidency,” said Judy Daubenmier, chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party, in a news release. “They own a piece of the victory.”

Biden captured 37.9 percent of the vote for the Democrat’s presidential candidate in the county, up 5.63 percent from 2016. The 48,218 votes Biden won is a record for a Democratic presidential candidate in Livingston County, placing it 10th among Michigan’s 83 counties for number of votes for the top of the ticket.

The record number of Democratic candidates on the ballot for state and local races in the county helped fuel a huge increase in the number of straight ticket votes for Democrats — 23,025 compared to 13,620 four years ago. The party had 39 candidates for state, county-wide, county commission, and township offices, as well as numerous candidates for non-partisan offices such as school boards and library boards.

In addition, incumbent U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who won the 8th Congressional District race, carried the city of Brighton, won 48 percent of the vote in Howell, and 47 percent of the vote in Hamburg Township.

Democrats winning election to partisan office include incumbent trustee Lori Cowan on the Unadilla Township Board of Trustees, and newcomer Cindy Michniewicz to the Hamburg Township Board of Trustees. And Michael Tipton of Howell Township came within a hair’s breadth of winning the Howell Township treasurer’s position.

Democrats in Livingston County have traditionally knocked on many voters’ doors to ask their views on issues and candidates. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the party declined to risk the health of volunteers and voters, and instead relied on phone banking, texting, and leaving literature at the doors of voters without talking to them.

Democrats were eager to vote this year and were extremely determined to do whatever they could to help Biden win, Daubenmier said.

“The demand for yard signs was huge and unprecedented. When yard signs were stolen in broad daylight, riddled with bullet holes, ripped up, or run over by cars, our supporters only became more determined and came back for another yard sign. Some came four or five times after their yard signs were stolen,” she said. “We knew enthusiasm was sky-high and voter participation would be, too. Because we gave voters a choice at so many levels of government, they were encouraged to vote straight tickets. Democrats couldn’t wait to vote and many voted absentee rather than wait for Nov. 3. They were rewarded with victory on Saturday and we are extremely grateful for their efforts.”

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