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This is a live blog dedicated to the Presidential election and elections in Metro Detroit, Oakland County, and Michigan.

Detroit Jewish News reporters will be providing live news updates throughout the day. Read more of JN’s election coverage here.

Thursday, Nov. 5 —

11:45 a.m.: The Associated Press has called the race that will see Democratic incumbent Rep. Haley Stevens win re-election to U.S House in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District.

Wednesday, Nov. 4 —

6:30 p.m.: The Associated Press has called Michigan for Biden, with Sen. Gary Peters holding a narrow lead over Republican challenger John James. That’ll do it for our election liveblog today at the JN. Thanks for joining us!

6 p.m.: JN contributor Ben Falik is at TCF Arena in Detroit, where the vote count was met with protesters and counter-protesters. He provided the photos and videos below from earlier today.

TCF Arena in Detroit
Ben Falik
TCF Arena in Detroit
Ben Falik
TCF Arena in Detroit
Ben Falik

5:55 p.m.: Lorie Savin wins Oakland County Circuit Judge race.

Lorie Savin has defeated Clarence Dass to win her first term as Oakland County Circuit Court judge, winning by over 50,000 votes. 

5:25 p.m.: Dave Coulter wins full term as Oakland County Executive, Robert Wittenberg wins Oakland County Treasurer race. 

Democrat Dave Coulter, who was appointed in August 2019 to finish out the late L. Brooks Patterson’s term, has clinched a full, four-year term as Oakland County Executive by defeating Republican Mike Kowall.

“Lots of votes to be counted, be patient! But in my race, I’ve been successful in winning a 4 year term as Oakland County Executive. I’m grateful beyond words for the support of so many, and more determined than ever to make #OaklandTogether a reality for our future success,” Coulter said via Twitter.

Another Democrat, state representative Robert Wittenberg, has won the Oakland County Treasurer’s race by defeating Republican Joe Kent.

“As we wait on other election results, I’m happy to report that we emerged victorious for Oakland County Treasurer,” Wittenberg said in a statement also via his Twitter account. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Each and every one of you played a part in our victory.”

‪”It takes a lot of courage, time, energy, and a desire to really help people. It can be a thankless job, but we need more people that want to help in their communities to step up.” ‬

‪”Finally, elections aren’t about a single day or campaign,” Wittenberg continued. “They are about the future of our communities. I look forward to getting to work for the people of Oakland County in July when I take office. Thank you!”

3:15 p.m.: McCormack re-elected, Welch elected to Michigan Supreme Court

‪MIRS NEWS has called the race that will re-elect Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and elect Grand Rapids-area attorney Elizabeth Welch to the Michigan Supreme Court. The dual victories mean the Democratic-nominated justices will have a 4-3 majority on the high court in 2021.‬

“My re-election to the Michigan Supreme Court is a victory for the people across the state who believe, as I do, that the courtroom is a place where being right is more important than being popular or powerful,” McCormack said in a statement provided to the JN. “I’m proud that their votes are being counted and their voices are being heard.”

“In the coming term I will continue to fight for the court’s independence and for access to justice for all Michiganders. I will continue to work to make Michigan a national leader in ensuring transparency, fairness and efficiency in courthouses throughout the state where millions of people go for justice every year.

“To those who supported me and to those who did not, the people of Michigan have my steadfast commitment that I will serve them with the utmost integrity and fairness.”

Welch also provided a statement on her victory to the JN.

“I launched this campaign because I believe the Michigan Supreme Court must serve all people,” Welch said. “Over the past year, I have met people from every corner of the state. I am grateful and humbled by their support. Michiganders understand that our courts matter and truly impact lives.”

“After 25 years protecting Michigan small businesses, voters, students, and natural resources, I know the impact the courts can have on our great state. I am eager to join the chief justice and her colleagues in their important work of addressing challenges within our criminal justice system and their work toward ensuring everyone has equal access to our courts.”

“I pledge to serve all Michiganders with transparency and integrity,” Welch’s statement continued. “I will work tirelessly to create a fair and equitable court. Together, we can create a system that works – for everyone. I look forward to serving my state and making justice work for us all.”

2:40 p.m.: Slotkin wins 2nd term in Congress

Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan’s 8th Congressional District has been re-elected, with WXYZ Detroit calling the race. 

In a press conference before all votes were counted in the race but with Slotkin in the lead, Slotkin thanked her opponent, Republican Paul Junge, and had a message for her district.

“To the people of the 8th District. I have spent a lifetime in public service but I have had no greater honor than representing you,” Slotkin said. “As a member of Congress, constituents come to you and want to tell you about their pain. Then they expect you to carry that pain with you to DC and to fight for them. As long as I represent you I will continue to fight for you, and try to conduct myself in office with the same decency and hard work that you demonstrate every day.”

“If we are as successful as I think we’ll be when all the votes are all finally counted, it will be because of that decency and hard work. You see, something like this wasn’t supposed to happen. Our nation is supposed to be too divided, our politics too polarized. And while I know there are still a lot of questions up in the air, and the public perception of our political life is of angry people, shouting at one another, that simply isn’t what we as Michiganders want.”

“Thank you again to all those who trusted me with their votes,” Slotkin continued. “To those who did not, please know that I am here to serve you, too, as long as I am in office.”

1:05 p.m.: Breen wins 38th District

Another local race has been called, with Democrat Kelly Breen taking the formerly Republican open seat in the 38th District in the Michigan House of Representatives, defeating Republican Chase Turner.

“I am grateful and humbled that people of the 38th district have honored me with their votes,” Breen told the JN in a statement. “I look forward to going to Lansing to continue to fight for the people of this district. Because we all deserve to have clean water, public schools and affordable healthcare.”

12:25 p.m.: MI SOS Holds Press Conference

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson held a press conference this morning, putting the blame for the delay on the Republican-controlled statehouse, which did not act on several requests from the SOS months prior to the election to change the laws to allow them to begin processing absentee ballots earlier.

“For about 18 months, the election clerks throughout Michigan and I called on our state legislature to update our laws to provide time for pre-processing of ballots that were on par with many other states — like our neighbors in Ohio who were able to count the vast majority of their ballots yesterday,” Benson said. “Our state legislature chose not to make that change to our laws, and here we are in Michigan where our counting process is continuing long after the polls have closed.”

In the press conference, Benson firmly stated that every single ballot will be counted, with Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Kalamazoo and many other cities and townships still reporting votes.

Benson said she hopes the unofficial vote count will be done within the next 24 hours, and when the first unofficial tabulation comes in, they will then begin the process of finalizing an official tabulation, “which could take even more time”.

According to the SOS, well over 5 million Michigan citizens voted in the general election, with at least 3.2 million voting absentee.

100,000 or so ballots are left to count across the state, according to Benson.

“We have many secure protocols in place to confirm the validity of every ballot, and that’s why the process takes so much time,” Benson said. “Our goal is to be transparent but also fully accurate, and that the public can trust the results as an accurate reflection of the will of the people.”

9:30 a.m.: Local Races Begin to Be Called

The Presidential and Senate vote in Michigan remain too close to call, but several local races have already been decided.

In Congress, the Associated Press has called several races. Democratic Reps. Andy Levin (who is Jewish), Brenda Lawrence, Debbie Dingell, and Rashida Tlaib all easily won their re-election bids.

“I am so grateful to the people of the Ninth District for this tremendous honor,” Levin said in a statement. “This campaign is an important step in building an enduring movement of working people that goes beyond any one election and seeks fundamental change over time. The energy and enthusiasm of our organizers and precinct delegates points the way towards a more robust form of democracy where people don’t just vote but are engaged year in and year out in creating a more just future for our country.”

“I am both deeply humbled and eager to get going on delivering on the progressive reform that the people of the Ninth District elected me to enact,” Levin continued. “Nobody could’ve expected the bizarre twists and turns of my first term in Congress — but I have learned a great deal, and I hope I am better at representing the residents of Macomb and Oakland Counties for it.

In the statehouse races, incumbent Republican Rep. Ryan Berman, who is Jewish, won re-election in the 39th district against Julia Pulver. Democrat Samantha Steckloff, who is Jewish, also won her race in the 37th district against Mitch Swodoba. Democrat incumbent Rep. Mari Manoogian won re-election in the 40th district against Kendra Cleary.

“In 2018, the residents of Michigan’s 40th district voted to send a new voice to Lansing who would fight for clean water, quality public schools, and safe roads,” Manoogian said in a statement provided to the JN.

“I’m thankful to voters across this community who made their voices heard by absentee ballot or at the polls and have continued to place their trust in me as their State Representative. I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on issues important to everyday people – fixing our crumbling infrastructure, improving support for our public schools, and getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control.”

“To every volunteer who knocked a door, phone- or text-banked, or wrote a postcard to a voter, this victory is yours to share in, and I am grateful for every one of you,” Manoogian’s statement continued. “Thank you to this community for believing in our vision of a state government that works for all of us. I’m ready to get back to Lansing and deliver on that promise every day.”

In the judiciary, Huntington Woods resident Jaimie Powell Horowitz has won her race for 45th District Court Judge, a position previously held by Judge David Gubow, who endorsed Horowitz for the position. Both Horowitz and Gubow are Jewish.

“I’m honored to be elected by the citizens of the 45th and I’m looking forward to serving,” Horowitz told the JN in a statement.

“I want to continue the good work that our court has been doing with their Mental Health Court and their Veterans Court, I am hoping we can expand our diversionary programs, and I’m hoping we can expand our online resources to serve our citizens. I’m very excited to serve and I want to be present in all of our communities and make our judicial system more fair and equitable.”

This page will be updated with more winning candidates and statements throughout the day.

Tuesday, Nov. 3 — 

8:40 p.m.: Jewish Journalist Confronts Black Canvasser in Oak Park, Provokes Racially Tense Dispute

Although the day of in-person voting in Oakland County was, by all accounts, largely peaceful, one incident in Oak Park was an example of how many bitter political divisions can snap to the forefront in an instant.

At Norup International School in Oak Park, where Precincts 1, 2 & 3 voted today, a Jewish journalist who was voting at the precinct harassed a Black woman canvassing outside the building, saying she “votes for Jew-haters.”

In an incident recorded on video by the JN, Ronnie Schreiber, an automobile journalist for publications including The Truth About Cars and Hagerty Media, leveled the accusation at Tracy, a woman handing out literature supporting 45th District Judge candidate Brenda Richard in her race against Jaimie Powell Horowitz. Tracy preferred to only give her first name.

Wearing a red and white hat reading “Triggered?” and identifying himself as a supporter of President Trump, Schreiber began the interaction by asking Tracy if he could ask her a question, then asked why her party “supports Antifa,” though the 45th District Judge race is nonpartisan. Tracy later told the JN she believed the comment to be a racial assumption about her party affiliation.

Tracy initially declined the conversation, thinking it would lead to an argument, having seen Schreiber get agitated with another man earlier in the day.

As the conversation snowballed, according to Tracy, it led to a back-and-forth that concluded with Schreiber labeling Tracy as a “racist.”

A dispute over whether Tracy had stepped over the designated “Campaign Line,” where campaigners aren’t allowed to cross in front of polling places, led to Schreiber claiming Tracy called him “an overseer”, which Schreiber also believed to be a racially-charged term.

Schreiber then claimed Tracy “votes for Jew-haters,” and asked if she voted for Rep. Rashida Tlaib, even though Richard represents neighborhoods outside Tlaib’s district. Tracy said she believed this, too, to be a racial assumption about where she lived.

Soon Tracy called her husband Andre, who was volunteering at the other end of the school. Andre and Schreiber got into an argument as well, but Schreiber eventually left.

The JN interviewed Schreiber moments before the confrontation. He said he attended a Trump rally on Sunday in Macomb. Schreiber also said he supports Trump’s executive order banning federal contractors from conducting racial sensitivity training, which Schreiber called “propaganda” and “poisonous”.

Schreiber provoked the couple while telling them he was in the presence of another journalist, and said to Andre, “You’re going to hit a little Jew?… He’s picking on the Jew!”

In the full video, Andre says, “I respect your faith, I respect your people.”

“He clearly wanted to fight,” Tracy said later. “Every community has people like him who want to make issues about race and ethnicity and make them in a hostile way where we can’t have a conversation with one another, and makes the difficult conversations that much more difficult.”

Tracy said she’s worked on many campaigns and is accustomed to difficult encounters, but has never dealt with anyone as hostile as Schreiber was.

Tracy said she wouldn’t consider this incident “voter intimidation” as she wasn’t a voter at that location, but believed this was an example of the general hostility surrounding this election.

“I’ve never had an experience like this in my entire life,” Andre said.

8 p.m.: The polls have closed in Metro Detroit.

5:30 p.m.: Voters at Southfield City Hall put their ballots in the drop box just hours before polls close.

2:07 p.m.: A look at the Norup International School in Oak Park.

12:10 p.m.: Long lines reported at the West Bloomfield Public Library.

 

12 p.m.: Rabbi David Krishef of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Grand Rapids spoke to us in more detail about the vandalism that occurred at the synagogue’s cemetery over the weekend, in which gravestones were defaced with pro-Trump slogans. Citing past incidents in which early reports of antisemitism were wrong, he wants to be careful before the community assigns a label to this crime.

11 a.m.:  Temple Israel and Congregation B’nai Moshe are some of the local synagogues serving as polling places today. Here’s our story on what kinds of precautionary measures they’re taking to ensure every voter’s safety.

 

 

9 a.m.: A Jewish cemetery in Grand Rapids was defaced over the weekend with pro-Trump graffiti. Here’s our story from yesterday on the community reaction to the vandalism.

8:45 a.m.: Reports of 50-minute wait in Birmingham, MI.

7 a.m.: Polls are open across Metro Detroit.

Some Oakland County synagogues are serving as polling places today. Read our story on how they are taking security precautions for Election Day.

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