LINCOLN PARK, Mich. — The fever among voters to throw incumbents out of office — furiously stoked by Democrats in Washington — might backfire in this state, where Republicans are riding a surge of voter discontent.
With Democrats holding both Senate seats and the governor’s mansion, Michigan is suffering the worst economy of any state in the nation. The state’s unemployment rate is nearly twice the national average of 4.7 percent, and the auto industry is losing jobs by the tens of thousands. A recent job fair offering factory work for $10 an hour with no benefits drew 4,000 applicants.
“They’re Democrats, but they want jobs,” John Katinsky said of his neighbors in this hard-hit town downriver from Detroit.
Much of the discontent is being directed at Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the first-term senator who is trying to fend off a challenge from Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
“Only one state in America has lost jobs for three straight years and that’s Michigan,” Mr. Bouchard says. “That needs to change, and it’s going to change by starting with the leadership.”
Mrs. Stabenow’s primary line of attack on Mr. Bouchard is linking him to President Bush, who lost the state in the 2000 and 2004 elections, though by relatively small margins.
“The people of Michigan have a clear choice in this election between a senator who is fighting hard for them and delivering real results and someone who insists on endorsing the failed and tired policies of the Bush administration even as they continue to cost us jobs and threaten our Michigan way of life,” Stabenow campaign spokesman Brent Colburn said.
Not a ‘nice’-lady race
Mr. Bouchard often tells voters on the campaign trail that Mrs. Stabenow is a “nice” lady but that they’re not running in a nice-lady contest. He then rattles off reasons why he thinks she should be replaced.
He tells people that Mrs. Stabenow voted to grant Social Security benefits to illegal aliens, is one of the biggest pork-barrel spenders in Washington and has authored only one successful bill in Congress: a law to rename a federal building in Detroit.
Last month, Mr. Bouchard toured the state in a moving van to highlight the exodus of Michigan residents leaving the state in search of jobs. The flight is so bad, Mr. Bouchard said in an interview with The Washington Times, that when his neighbors put their house on the market, they had to wait more than a week before a “for sale” sign was available.
On his tour, he promised to curb federal spending, reduce “regulatory burdens” on small businesses and make tax cuts permanent.
Mrs. Stabenow, he says, has spent six years in Washington with little to show for it. She has authored 68 bills, according to records kept by the Library of Congress, and only one has been approved by the Senate. The bill, S.1285, renamed a building in Detroit the “Rosa Parks Federal Building” in honor of the civil rights activist.
During that same period, she also has written 68 amendments, 19 of which were adopted by her colleagues.
Those figures do not accurately reflect how hard she is working on behalf of her state, Mrs. Stabenow’s campaign says.View Entire Story
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