I attended a pundit summit in Lansing, Michigan this afternoon where folks involved in elections and politics from the public and private sectors came together to talk about what happened on Nov. 4.
One of the panels discussed the presidential campaign in Michigan. The panelists included two people involved in the Obama and McCain campaigns. Holly Hughes is a National Committeewoman for the Republican Party and a losing candidate for a state House seat. She was joined by Amy Chapman, Michigan Director of the Obama for America Campaign.
Chapman noted that, in Michigan at least, the Dems were able to use the Obama win to make sweeping changes in the balance of power at state and local levels throughout the state.
Chapman said she felt great about what they were able to do organizationally, which is an important point. Several reporters and pundits throughout the country have commented how the Obama campaign was more organized than the McCain campaign was. I can’t speak about either campaign personally, but I can tell you from talking to friends and colleagues that many Republican campaigns in Michigan were a mess.
Hughes said 2010 would be a whole other story. While Chapman said the Dems’ work this year will help with more Democrat ticket sweeps in two years, Hughes disagreed. Never giving up on her Republican Kool-Aid spin, Hughes said Obama’s honeymoon will end quickly and, particularly in Michigan, we’ll see more tough times ahead. According to Hughes, that means Michiganders will be ready to hand control back to the GOP at the state level in 2010.
The political situation in Michigan is critical in 2010 because the stage has been set for the Democrats to take over completely. They could hold on to the governor’s office and the state House. They could take over the state Senate for the first time in nearly three decades and they could land a majority on the state Supreme Court. Impressive on its own merit, that kind of sweep would put the Democrats in a position where they can take on the task of redistricting for state and congressional districts in Michigan without a challenge. That means they get to draw the voting maps used through 2020.
What do you think? Is Michigan going to turn entirely blue in two years? Or will we take the usual road the Great Lakes State follows and keep a mixed bag of leadership fighting for attention in Lansing?