Cass County veers back to the rightPublished 8:25pm Thursday, November 8, 2012
Cass County voters consider Michigan native and former Massachusetts governor President Mitt Romney here in the red wrist of a blue mitten.
Though President Barack Obama won re-election to become the third consecutive two-term chief executive, local voters prefer Romney, giving him 12,660 ballots to just 9,587 for Obama.
That’s notable because Obama rolled up 12,083 votes in 2008 to carry Cass County over GOP standard bearer John McCain and Sarah Palin.
That same November, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin received 12,138 to 9,612 for Jack Hoogendyk, who took on U.S. Rep. Fred Upton in the 2012 primary.
In 2008, when the turnout was 61.3 percent, Upton polled 14,234, which softened to 13,390 going for his 14th term Nov. 6.
We can’t remember an election cycle where Democrats fielded a stronger, more articulate slate of legislative candidates than Upton’s opponent, Mike O’Brien of Douglas (8,240); 59th District, Mike Moroz of Dowagiac (6,015 to 7,219 for Rep. Matt Lori of Constantine); and 78th District, Jack Arbanas of Buchanan (3,019 to 5,356 for Dave Pagel of Berrien Springs).
While Dowagiac is new to Lori’s district for his third and final two-year term, the former St. Joseph County sheriff has been building relationships in Cass County for four years.
Pagel, an “apple guy” with 14 years experience as president of the Berrien Springs school board and four years as chairman of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, is an unusually formidable newcomer.
Since 2004, the once dormant Democrats have been showing signs of life.
Now, whether it’s “hope and change” fatigue from stubborn unemployment, stimulus spending and trillions in deficit spending, the county seems to be re-embracing its traditional conservatism.
The only Democrat on the downsized Board of Commissioners will be E. Clark Cobb of Dowagiac, who knocked off Chair Minnie Warren, a former Democrat who changed her party affiliation to Republican.
Cass County also broke with the Michigan majority on ballot proposals.
While all six lost statewide, folks here favor the emergency manager law, as well as Proposals 5 (to amend the state constitution to limit enactment of new taxes by state government) and 6 (to amend the state constitution regarding construction of international bridges and tunnels).