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News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why Loren Partlo won

Coleman High School Principal Loren Partlo won the Democratic nomination for the 99th District Michigan House seat because of the ongoing controversy over a new Midland County jail.

The fight over the jail has been long and bitter. On Tuesday, voters in Midland County approved a bond issue to pay for a new jail. That bond issue question brought out voters.

Turnout in Midland County was about 24 percent, a remarkable number for an off-year primary election.

Meanwhile, in Isabella County, there were no countywide tax issues. There were no races with bitter, nasty name-calling. You could see actual grass along the roadsides, instead of just campaign signs. And hardly anyone cared; turnout was about 8 percent.

Loren Partlo is from Midland County. His opponent, Eric Welsby, lives in Isabella County. That was the key. Voters went for their home-county candidate, and more Midland people showed up.

Some numbers: In Midland County, it was Partlo 854, Welsby 632. That totals 1,486 votes.
In Isabella County, it was Welsby 689, Partlo 528, totaling 1,217 votes.

A total of 55 percent of the votes came from Midland County. Yet the Midland County part of the 99th District contains only 30.3 percent of the district's population.

Where Welsby campaigned in person, knocking on doors and helping people get to know him, he did well. He carried 20 of Isabella County's 29 precincts.

But he lost places like Denver Township, Coldwater Township, Lincoln Township, Rolland and Vernon townships. And not enough Isabella County Democrats showed up; Welsby lost by 61 votes.


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