POLITICS
11/04/2014 10:52 pm ET Updated Nov 05, 2014

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Defeats Challenger Mark Schauer To Win Re-Election

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) defeated Democratic challenger Mark Schauer in Tuesday's competitive gubernatorial race.

Snyder, a successful entrepreneur who had not previously held political office when he became governor, was first elected in 2010 by a large margin of 18 percent. Running in one of the states hit hardest by the 2008 recession, he downplayed his positions on social issues and instead highlighted his business acumen.

As he campaigned for re-election in 2014, Snyder had several accomplishments to tout. Michigan's economy has improved and the state's unemployment rate has gone down drastically, from 12.2 percent while he was running for office in fall of 2010 to 7.2 percent this September. Recently, and with considerable national attention, he's played a key role in the process of steering Detroit through bankruptcy, working with local leaders and pledging state funds.

In his victory speech Tuesday, Snyder praised the state legislature.

"We have been reinventing Michigan," he said. "More important than any law or regulation is what you're starting to see happen in Michigan. We can work together ... we can lay aside blame."

Now, he said, lawmakers and others have been able to put aside differences and work on implementing solutions for Michigan people.

One of the most contentious issues this campaign season has been education: Schauer, who represented Michigan's 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011, repeatedly attacked Snyder for cutting $1 billion from K-12 education budgets, a claim Snyder has disputed. Schauer also condemned the expansion of charter schools under Snyder's watch.

With a middle-of-the-road approach to his first term, Snyder managed to alienate members of his own party and further irk Democrats. Some Republicans see him as not conservative enough, as he implemented an expansion of Medicaid and called for a gasoline tax to fund fixes for the state's roads. But his surprise approval of anti-union right-to-work legislation, passage of restrictive abortion laws and refusal to take a stance on same-sex marriage -- even after a federal judge struck down Michigan's ban -- played poorly with Democrats.

Schauer holds staunchly progressive ideals, supporting gay marriage, environmental conservation and protections for workers, a belief that got him pepper-sprayed at a right-to-work protest in 2012. He cemented his pro-choice stance when he chose as his running mate Lisa Brown, a former state lawmaker who made a name for herself with her lively arguments against anti-abortion legislation, including holding a reading of "The Vagina Monologues" on the Statehouse steps.

Throughout his campaign, Schauer focused on changes to the tax system, job creation, restoring the middle class and education. However, he was often faulted for a lack of details on how he would -- and could afford to -- implement his plans.

The HuffPost Pollster model showed Snyder with more than a 7-point lead earlier in the campaign. Schauer tightened the gap in later months, heading into election day just 2 points behind.

By late last month, Snyder had spent $12.2 million on his campaign, while Schauer had spent $4.3 million, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Below, more updates on election news:

11/05/2014 8:27 AM EST

Christie: GOP Wins Show Focus On Leadership

The AP reported Wednesday:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says Republican victories in governor's races across the country show voters want leaders who will "get things done," rather that fighting over ideology.

Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible 2016 candidate for president, said he was gratified by GOP wins in Democratic-leaning states such as Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois, as well as victories in key swing states like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Christie said voters "elect and re-elect governors to get things done."

Christie, who campaigned for GOP candidates across the country, said the winners deserve the credit, not him. He said elections are "always about the candidate."

Christie spoke Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" and Fox News Channel.

11/05/2014 7:46 AM EST

President Obama To Address Midterm Results In Afternoon Press Conference

President Barack Obama will speak to the press Wednesday afternoon to address his party's resounding loss in the 2014 midterm elections, according to White House press secretary Josh Earnest. He is expected to strike a tone of compromise and accountability following a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate and many of the nation's gubernatorial offices.

Obama tried reached out to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is widely expected to be the next senate majority leader and who also won re-election Tuesday night, and left a message, CNN reported.

The president's press conference will take place at 2:50 p.m. Eastern time from the East Room of the White House.

Igor Bobic

11/05/2014 6:57 AM EST

Indictment, Dog Killing, Infidelity Overcome By GOP Candidates

How bad was it for Democrats? Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican facing a 20-count indictment won in New York and another known for outbursts of rage and killing a beagle, Mike Bost, won a seat in President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois that had been Democratic for 70 years.

Down in Tennessee, Rep. Scott DesJarlais' past infidelities and pushing of abortion on a mistress continued to not matter to voters, who handed him a landslide victory.

There were a couple of bright spots for Democrats, or at least the more moderate crowd. Florida Rep. Steve Southerland lost to Democrat Gwen Graham after holding an all-male fundraiser and joking about Graham in lingerie. And in Louisiana, GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, dubbed the "Kissing Congressman" after he was caught on tape smooching a staffer, finished far back in the field in his contest.

-- Michael McAuliff

11/05/2014 5:24 AM EST

Expect A Delay In Results

11/05/2014 5:07 AM EST

Alaska Becomes 4th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

In yet another major pushback against the war on drugs, Alaska legalized recreational marijuana on Tuesday, joining Oregon and Washington, D.C. -- both of which legalized cannabis only hours before. Alaska becomes the fourth state in the U.S. to legalize retail marijuana, along with Oregon, Colorado and Washington state.

Voters approved Measure 2, which legalizes the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana. Adults, age 21 and older, may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants (with no more than three being mature) for personal use. The measure also legalizes the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana paraphernalia, such as devices used for smoking or storing the plant.

“The folks trying to keep marijuana illegal are relying on the same scare tactics today that they have relied on for decades, but voters just aren’t falling for it anymore," Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement early Wednesday morning. "The results are particularly encouraging since voter turnout during a midterm election is typically smaller, older, and more conservative. Clearly, support for ending marijuana prohibition spans the political and ideological spectrums."

Read more here.

-- Matt Ferner

11/05/2014 4:28 AM EST

Ah, Politics... Chicago-Style

11/05/2014 3:40 AM EST

Sarah Palin To GOP: You Didn't Build This

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took to Facebook last night to issue a hearty congratulations -- and warning -- to her GOP brethren:

Thank you, wise voters! Tonight is a big victory for We the People! Credit is due to the victorious candidates. Your message to President Obama is undeniably received, though he'll try to ignore it.

...

The Democrats got mauled today, deservedly so. To prohibit that from happening to the GOP in 2016, it must learn the lesson from the last time Republicans held the Senate majority. This time they must not retreat, and it's our responsibility to hold them accountable. Will they fight for reform that aligns with the limited government planks of the Republican platform, or will they return to the big government cronyism and status quo favored by the permanent political class? Will they drain the swamp or decide the D.C. cesspool is really just a jacuzzi they can't wait to jump on into and shake us off?

If GOP leadership returns to business as usual, then this majority will be short lived, for We the People say, “once bitten, twice shy.”

Click here to read the full statement.

11/05/2014 2:55 AM EST

Alaska Approves Minimum Wage Increase

11/05/2014 2:39 AM EST

Alaska Rep. Don Young Projected To Win 22nd Term

The Associated Press is projecting that Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) will win re-election as Alaska's only member of Congress.

--Sam Levine

11/05/2014 2:36 AM EST

Voter Turnout In The U.S. Is Always Awful.. And This Year Was No Different

CONVERSATIONS