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Michigan Primary: August 2012 Election Coverage (LIVE UPDATES)

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American flag atop the Guardian building in Detroit, Michigan. August Primary 2012 Elections begin Tuesday. (Alamy)
American flag atop the Guardian building in Detroit, Michigan. August Primary 2012 Elections begin Tuesday. (Alamy)

2012 is proving to be one of the most contentious and exciting primary races in Michigan's recent history.

Stay tuned to The Huffington Post for the latest election news and results on Tuesday, August 7, 2012; plus voter interviews, sound bytes from politicians, links, analysis and more.

Learn about the men and women running for elected office in Michigan's biggest races of 2012.

For sliding maps showing how voting districts have changed since new voting blocs were drawn up in 2011, check out our infographics of Michigan voting districts.

Read about what's being called the most unpredictable election across the state of Michigan, in Metro Detroit's 6th District.

Four young men under the age of 30 are battling seven other Democrats in Detroit's open 4th District seat, which covers Midtown and Hamtramck. Here's why "all the young dudes" have joined the race.

Find out why supporters rallied to pass a millage benefiting the Detroit Institute of Arts, and see pictures of museum fans.

Who should get your vote? We asked candidates from Tuesday's primary elections to send us their own blogs for HuffPost readers, explaining what they'd do for Detroit if elected. Make your own decisions here -- and keep following our liveblog for more news.

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Rose Marie Robinson currently holds the lead in the Democratic primary race for Michigan's 4th state house district. WXYZ reports she is leading the pack with 25 percent of the vote, flanked by Adam Hollier at 21 percent, Carol Banks at 15 percent and Mohammed Hassan at 14 percent. So far 55 percent of precincts have reported. A total of 11 candidates are competing in the primary, which features no incumbents.

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After a tight race Tuesday, one of Detroit's cultural gems received the regional support officials say it needs to stay open.

In Wayne, Macomb and Oakland County, residents participating in primary elections voted in favor of a 10-year, 0.2-mill property tax that will raise million for the DIA and cost the the owner of a 0,000 home a year. While voters showed strong support for the measure in Wayne and Oakland, the race was neck-and-neck in Macomb, where the millage passed with 50.5 percent support and 1,340 votes.

Museum officials said that without funding from the public, they would have had to begin cutting hours and staff and eventually close.

Read more here.

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State Rep. Rashida Tlaib appears to be leading her opponents in the battle to grab the Michigan sixth district house Democratic nomination.

WXYZ reports her winning 54 percent of the vote with 52 percent of polling stations reporting. Her fellow state Rep. Maureen Stapleton is in second place with 42 percent, while Patrick O'Connell of Ecorse trails in the last with 4 percent.

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SIX STRAIGHT!

miguel cabrera

Caption: Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, right, is congratulated by third base coach Gene Lamont after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

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With Macomb narrowly passing the DIA millage and large leads in Wayne and Oakland, WDIV called the proposal as passed.

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Mr. Peters Goes (Back) To Washington

With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Peters led the field with 48 percent of votes. His strongest opponent and fellow colleague in the U.S. House, Hansen Clarke, was polling at 35 percent. Opponents Brenda Lawrence, mayor of the Metro Detroit suburb of Southfield, garnered 13 percent of the vote.

One of the most-talked about races across the state of Michigan, this election in a newly-designed district pitted two popular Democrat incumbents against each other for a position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The new 14th Congressional District meanders from Pontiac to the Grosse Pointes, now including voters in Oakland County and Detroit. It's one of Michigan's two majority-minority voting districts, which are designed by the 1965 Voters Rights Act to contain a majority of the state's minority voters. As this district is heavily Democrat, the winner is likely to be elected in the November general election.

Full story here.

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While the DIA millage hasn't been officially called, it seems likely to pass in all three counties. According to WXYZ, 100 percent of Macomb precincts are reporting, with 51 percent voting for the millage. Freep reports 99 percent of precincts are reporting in Macomb with the same lead. Though polls vary for Oakland and Wayne, in both counties those in favor of the tax have a significant lead.

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Don't call it a comeback. Despite talk of a possible defeat, Conyers crushed the competition in Tuesday night's Democratic primary.

The results are in and the venerable John Conyers, Jr. is emerging triumphant in his battle for the newly redistricted 13th Congressional District U.S. House seat.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday night, Conyers has polled 60 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting. That's a devastating lead over his opponents: state Senators Glenn Anderson of Westland (with 11 percent) and Bert Johnson of Highland Park (with 12 percent), state Rep. Shanelle Jackson (14 percent) and Wayne Westland school board member John Goci (3 percent).

Read more here.

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A breaking alert from the Detroit News names Hoekstra as the winner in the GOP primary for Senate. He will face incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow in November's election.

Hoekstra faced a challenge from Clark Durant.

According to Fox 2 Detroit, Hoekstra has 54 percent of the vote as of 10 p.m. with 36 percent reporting. His challenger Clark Durant trails Hoekstra with 33 percent.

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With 10 percent of precincts reporting in Metro Detroit's 13th Congressional District, veteran U.S. Representative John Conyers has not yet established a commanding lead. WXYZ polls show Conyers with 39 percent of the vote as of 9:34 p.m.

The 83-year-old Conyers is attempting to hold off four challengers to his seat. Westland's Glenn Anderson currently follows with 28 percent of the vote; John Goci at 15 percent; Bert Johnson with 14 percent; and Shanelle Jackson with nine percent.

Political analysts have dubbed this election "the fight of John Conyers' career." Given the smooth sailing that his fellow incumbent is experiencing, Rep. Gary Peters, this certainly might turn into the fight of the night.

Rep. Peters currently leads Rep. Hansen Clarke 67 percent to 17 percent, with only 3 percent of precincts from the 14th Congressional District reporting.

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Only a few precincts have reported their ballots on a 10-year millage on residents of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland Counties to support the Detroit Institute of Arts.

52 percent of Macomb County residents are voting in favor of the DIA millage, with 34 percent of precincts reporting. That's a big change from even 15 minutes ago, when a very small percentage of precincts had come out against the millage vote.

In Oakland County, 61 percent of voters have voted their support for the millage. Only three percent of Oakland County primary votes have been reported.

Nothing yet from Wayne County.

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Only 7 percent of precincts are reporting as of 9:08 p.m., but those who have counted their ballots are rewarding Pete Hoekstra with a commanding lead in the Republican primary for Michigan's available U.S. Senate seat in November.

WXYZ reports that former Rep. Hoekstra leads with 52 percent, followed by Cornerstone Schools' CEO Clark Durant with 32 percent. Republican candidates Randy Hekman and Gary Glenn are trailing at 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

The winner will face incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow on Nov. 7.

More at WXYZ.com.

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Via Dearborn Patch:

According to a release issued last week by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, a survey that asked Michigan municipalities to verify the status of absentee ballots found that 70 had missed the June 23 deadline for sending out ballots to military and overseas voters.

Any Dearborn results counted tonight will be officially unofficial until August 9.

More at Dearborn Patch.

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detroit august 2012 election

HuffPost Detroit visited polling places in Lathrup Village, Southfield and Southwest Detroit to get a pulse on what really brought Metro Detroit voters to the polls during the August 2012 primary.

Check out our slideshow of Metro Detroit voters talking about why they decided to vote in today's primary.

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You can't make this stuff up...

A polling locale for Michigan's August primary elections turned into the site of a political brawl on Tuesday afternoon, as a local political candidate, her husband, a supporter and blogger were filmed fighting outside an elementary school.

Shelby Twp. Clerk candidate Liza Manzella, a current municipal trustee, is videotaped engaging in a physical and verbal altercation with a political blogger caught painting graffiti over campaign signs.

Read more and watch the video of the brouhaha.

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brenda lawrence

A campaign sign for Brenda Lawrence, Southfield mayor and candidate for Michigan's 14th district of the U.S. House.

While the race for the U.S. House seat in the 14th district has largely been considered a contest between the two Democratic incumbents Reps. Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke (with the former showing a 19-point lead in a recent poll), some voters in Southfield and Lathrup Village are casting ballots for candidate and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence.

"She's committed to her job," said Lathrup voter Debra Martin, who attended school with Lawrence. "As the mayor [she's kept] good business coming to Southfield, ... the crime rate down."

Southfield voter Charmika Elder said she voted for Lawrence, who was the most familiar candidate to her.

Another Southfield woman said while she approved of Lawrence, she should have run for something local instead.

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Some Detroiters waited hours this morning to vote -- or left before being able to cast a ballot -- when a polling location failed to open at 7 a.m.

Voting began as much as 90 minutes past the statewide start time for polling locations on Tuesday morning at Henry Ford High School in Northwest Detroit, when the person in charge of opening the school building for election workers didn't show up to unlock the doors.

Read more here.

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detroit institute of arts millage Caption: Blayne Leonard, Oakland County resident, voted against the millage that would provide funding for the Detroit Institute of Arts at Lathrup VIllage City Hall Tuesday morning (Kate Abbey-Lambertz, The Huffington Post).

The future of the Detroit Institute of Arts has become a hot-button topic for voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties this primary season. A tri-county proposal asking for a 10-year property tax millage that would levy funds for the museum through art authorities in each county is on the August 2012 ballot. The millage rate of .2 mills would cost the owner of a 0,000 home about a year. It's expected to raise the Detroit Institute of Arts about million annually for 10 years.

Supporters of the DIA millage say it is necessary for the survival of the museum. Opponents say that the art museum, regularly regarded among the nation's best, should instead cut costs.

Blayne Leonard, a Lathrup Village resident who identified as a Republican, voted against the millage.

"I voted twice for other millages to help fund the arts, each time they keep asking for more," Leonard told The Huffington Post. "Before I say, 'Yeah, you can raise my taxes again,' you have to know what's going on with the money."

Leonard, who said he and his wife had been DIA members in the past, questioned the costly renovations of the museum several years ago.

Sarah McCarthy, 76, a landlord living in Southwest Detroit, also opposed the measure.

"I have renters that get mad when I ask to raise the rent because of the water bill or taxes," she said. "I voted against the museum, because they all voted for the museum."

Southfield voter Carol Izant, on the other hand, supported the proposal.

"You can't put a price tag on spiritual nourishment," she said. "That's priceless."

Harriett Graham, 56, a retired Internal Revenue Service worker who runs a Southwest Detroit-based nonprofit called the Hubbard-Richard Community Council, told The Huffington Post that she felt conflicted about the proposal. She owns several properties and faces the prospect of paying several millages if the proposal passes.

"I'm not happy, but I'm still voting," she said. "I grew up going to the DIA. It's important. It's exposure. It's culture. Art is important to becoming a well-rounded person."

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At a precinct in Lathrup Village, one campaign displayed a novel idea to increase name recognition for a candidate in a crowded race.

A volunteer was handing out nail files adorned with "Towana Tate for 46th District Court Judge." He advised that you could even bring one in inside with you while you cast your ballot.

Now THAT'S sharp thinking!

nailfile

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The primary rumble between State Reps. Maureen Stapleton and Rashida Tlaib to be the Democratic contender in Michigan's sixth state house district race is coming down to its last few frenzied blows.

A recent campaign flier released by the Committee To Re-elect Maureen Stapleton is using the issue of attendance to rally voters behind its favored candidate. The literature notes that Stapleton missed 36 votes compared to Tlaib's 56. The numbers match those compiled on the the website Michigan Votes, which is sponsored by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

stapleton flyer

Except that Tlaib has served two terms totaling four years to Stapleton's single, two-year assignment in the statehouse. Maureen Stapleton has missed 36 votes since her term began on January 1, 2011, according to Michigan Votes.

Those 56 missed votes of Tlaib's are for two terms, not one. Since January 1, 2011, when Maureen Stapleton also took office, Michigan Votes says Tlaib has only missed 13 total votes.

The flier also mentions Tlaib's opposition to a Stapleton-sponsored bill that would allow for the creation of a municipal lighting authority in Detroit and other municipalities.

Tlaib's campaign, on the other hand, seems to be very concerned about its poll numbers and the morale of its volunteers. On Saturday night, Steve Tobocman, Tlaib's statehouse predecessor and former boss, sent out an urgent email to supporters obtained by The Huffington Post. In his message, he cites a two-week old poll showing Tlaib trailing her Stapleton by two points, and chides volunteers to mount a last-minute rally for her campaign.

"We need a significant number of you to rise to the challenge," he said in the email. "I know of no other way to insure Rashida has the volunteers she needs than to ask her to stop her campaign and talking to voters tomorrow and use that valuable time to call you to help generate the wave of volunteer support that swept her into office in 2008."

The email also referenced the recent revelation that a SuperPAC supporting Stapleton's candidacy had injected ,000 of independent expenditures into the race.

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Candidates tout endorsements from the editorial boards of the Detroit Free Press and News; some people vote by them. But not all endorsements are created equal -- how do they differ? Take a look below.

For the Republican candidate to run against Sen. Debbie Stabenow in November, the Detroit Free Press

endorsed Clark Durant "for his outsider's perspective and his commitment to elevating the GOP agenda to include a strong focus on urban renewal, specifically where education is concerned."

Hoekstra got the nod from the News, which called the past Congressman a "staunch conservative who often put practical solutions ahead of ideology. He supported the bailouts of the U.S. banking system and the automotive industry because he believed the foundations of the economy and Michigan's bread-and-butter industry were at stake."

For the 13th district for the U.S. House, the Freep gave a head-scratchingly scathing endorsement of incumbent Congressman John Conyers, who is leading the race. But the News said it's time for Conyers to go and endorsed challenger and current state Sen. Bert Johnson, who they called "a mature and reasonable voice in the state Senate, [who] would represent Detroit well in Congress."

For state Reps. in Wayne County, the papers were near uniform, including their endorsement for Rep. Rashida Tlaib in District 6, a hotly contested race where she is running against another Dem incumbent, Rep. Maureen Stapleton. In District 9, which covers northwest Detroit, the News goes for state Rep. David Nathan, and the Freep supports Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.

Both papers urge a yes vote on the DIA millage.

bert johnson

The Detroit News endorsed State Sen. Bert Johnson in his race against longtime Rep. John Conyers.

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The Detroit Free Press drew last-minute attention to negative campaigning Monday, including a 5,000 attack on Nancy Cassis, the write-in Republican candidate for former state Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's seat. Cassis has called her opponent Kerry Bentivolio "Krazy Kerry."

Marketing communications consultant and Huffington Post reader Alan Stamm sent us this anti-Cassis mailer, which is paid for by the Liberty For All SuperPAC. The Ron and Rand Paul-aligned SuperPAC says on its website, "Kerry’s opponent, former state senator Nancy Cassis, has done everything possible to distract from her own record as the sponsor of the job-killing Michigan Business Tax."

Mailers, which depict a woman who ISN'T Cassis, refer to her as a "taxer," "fraud" and "phony."

anticassis card front

"Negative ads turn off people, but they work. It's sort of like a Hail Mary pass, thrown out of desperation," Lansing political consultant Craig Ruff told the paper. "But sometimes the races are so close that those last-minute attack ads will work."

The Freep also pointed to mailers from Congressman Hansen Clarke that falsely hinted at endorsements from the paper and the Detroit News, as well as midnight robo calls seemingly supporting Republican Senate candidate Clark Durant that likely annoyed the people picking up the phone -- Durant said he wasn't responsible for them.

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Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. John Dingell, Rep. John Conyers and Rep. Gary Peters, attending the opening of Detroit's new patent office on July 13. Via AP.

michigan candidates

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Michigan isn't the only state where redistricting has resulted in elections pitting Democrat incumbents against each other.

After tomorrow's primary elections, urban black representation in St. Louis and Detroit could sink to levels not seen since the 1960s. Since peaking in 1950, the populations of both St. Louis and Detroit have each declined by as much as 60 percent.

If Rep. Gary Peters defeats his fellow incumbent Rep. Hansen Clarke in tomorrow's primary, and if longtime Rep. John Conyers loses his race, Detroit could be left without any black representation in the U.S. House.

The same is true in St. Louis, where former colleagues William Lacy Clay Jr., who is African-American, and Russ Carnahan, who is white, are facing off in a bitter Democrat primary election.

Overall, 11 contests this year have pitted incumbents against each other. Some are highlighting the tea party tensions inside the Republican Party and racial sensitivities among Democratic constituents.

"It's just devastating to the Democratic Party here that people have to make these kind of choices, when there are two good candidates," said Claude Brown, 72, a Democratic activist in St. Louis who is siding with Clay largely because of loyalties to Clay's father. William Lacy Clay Sr. represented St. Louis for 32 years in the House, from 1969 to 2001, and was succeeded by his son.

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Congressman Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit), who is running against Congressman Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) for a seat in the new 14th U.S. House district, stepped up his campaign last week with two bold political moves.

Last Friday he announced his sponsorship of H.R. 6220, the Ban the Box Act of 2012, legislation that would help stop discrimination against people with past criminal histories. The law would ensure that applicants are considered for employment based on their qualifications as opposed to their conviction records, but makes exceptions in several circumstances for public safety reasons.

Earlier that week, Clarke called on President Obama to find a permanent replacement for Edward J. DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). DeMarco's agency oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored mortgage giants that own and help guarantee many of the country's home loans. Last Tuesday DeMarco indicated in a letter to Congress that he was unwilling to allow any principal forgiveness on mortgages backed by the two government-sponsored enterprises.

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The Green Party has nominated Detroit school board member Elena Herrada as a candidate for Michigan's 6th District state representative seat. The Southwest Detroit resident will be listed as such on the general election ballot in November. The announcement follows a Wayne County Green Party nominating caucus held Saturday.

Herrada told The Huffington Post she accepted the nomination after the Green Party approached her.

"I never would have accepted a third party [candidacy] in my life except for what happened with Public Act 4 and the Democratic Party's absolute refusal to fight for the black cities of Michigan under Public Act 4," she said.

Read more about Metro Detroit's 6th District Democratic primary race.

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An editorial in Sunday's Detroit Free Press calls for changing the date of the primary elections, in hopes of attracting more voters (many of whom are presumably vacationing) to the polls.

State election officials say they'll be surprised if even 25% of registered Republicans and Democrats mark their ballots on Tuesday. Given that the primaries are likely to be more contentious than the November elections for many seats, it seems that most voters will pass on their chance to make a decisive choice on who will represent them.

The editorial board recommends moving the primary election to May or June, in the hopes of increasing voter turnout.

In Michigan, changing the date of the primary is something that could be accomplished by legislation. Gov. Rick Snyder recently vetoed some bills backed by his fellow Republicans that he said would impede voting. Why not do even more to encourage it by making the primary more convenient?

Of course, this would need the approval of folks who generally benefit from low turnouts and lack of opposition. Anybody want to vote on when this will happen?

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