Democratic and Republican parties rally support ahead of general election

In Marquette County, each party has its own reasons to be confident about potential victories in six different Upper Michigan races.
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 7:40 PM EDT
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WESTERN U.P., Mich. (WLUC) - In just under two months, voters from across Michigan will head to the polls to make their voices heard.

This year, residents will cast their ballots on a handful of state and federal elections. The gubernatorial race sits atop the ticket, with Incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer facing off against Republican Challenger Tudor Dixon.

Voters will also decide five other races. At the federal level, Michigan’s 1st U.S. House of Representatives District will be contested between Incumbent Republican Congressman Jack Bergman and Democratic Challenger Bob Lorinser.

Meanwhile, state-level races include the 38th State District Senate, the 108th, 109th and 110th State District House seats. Districts across Michigan were redistricted by a commission of Michigan residents late last year, changing the geographical boundaries of each.

In the 109th District, Democrat Jenn Hill takes on Republican Melody Wagner.

One of the two will replace Incumbent Democratic Rep. Sara Cambensy, who has reached her term limit. Tony Tollefson, the Marquette County Democratic Party chairperson, believes Jenn Hill’s focus on issues like affordable housing makes her an exciting candidate for the party.

“Hill is really going to bring some vitality to the Democratic Party,” Tollefson explained. “She has got some great ideas and her efforts in the primary show that she is a hardworking candidate who really resonates with voters.”

Republican Melody Wagner, meanwhile, has the chance to flip the 109th District, which is historically Democratic. Rich Rossway, an executive board member of the Marquette County Republican Party, has faith that Wagner can pull off the win.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Wagner to become the newest 109th District representative,” Rossway said. “Given the way President Trump was able to perform in the 109th district back in 2020, we think that we have a real shot at taking the 109th seat.”

In the 38th State District Senate race, Incumbent Republican Ed McBroom squares off against Democratic Challenger John Braamse. Meanwhile, Democrat Chris Lopez faces off against Republican Dave Prestin for the 108th State House District. Incumbent Republican Greg Markkanen takes on Democratic Challenger Casey VerBerkmoes for the 110th State House District seat.

Overall, both Rossway and Tollefson said they have reasons to be excited about their respective party’s chances in the general election.

Tollefson explained that the Marquette County Democrats have seen an increase in volunteers and absentee voters. He added that this could be in part due to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.

This led to a proposed amendment to the Michigan constitution that will appear on the general election ballot. If passed, it would legalize abortion and protect access to contraception – like birth control – in the state.

“I think with the recent demands that have gone on with the Supreme Court that people have really woken up to understand how critical this election is,” Tollefson said.

Rossway, meanwhile, believes many U.P. residents will vote Republican in the fall. He added that certain Yoopers believe GOP legislators will improve issues like rising gas prices and get Upper Michigan’s economy back on track.

“We need to remember how the economy is hitting our checkbooks right now and the most important thing that we can do to fix that is rally our Republicans to get out and vote,” Rossway noted.

You can still apply for an absentee voter ballot in Michigan. To apply, visit the Department of State website by clicking here.

Early in-person voting begins Sept. 29 at clerk’s offices across the state. Nov. 8 is official election day.

You can find out what is on the ballot in your precinct as well as your polling location by visiting Vote411 by clicking here.