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Posted on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Race for the state House: How Gretchen Driskell won the 52nd District seat over Mark Ouimet

By Amy Biolchini


Democrat Gretchen Driskell of Saline flashes a thumbs-up at her supporters Tuesday night at Weber's Inn as she announces her win over incumbent Republican Mark Ouimet in the race for the 52nd District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Courtney Sacco |

On paper, the odds were seemingly stacked against Gretchen Driskell, Saline mayor for over a decade.

Running against an incumbent Republican who had deep pockets and the ear of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in the conservative 52nd House District, Driskell said she felt like every day she faced a new hurdle in the campaign.

But Tuesday night, Driskell was able to pull 52.9 percent of the vote and the 52nd District seat out from the one-term Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township.

“We’re running on change and improving the state, and I think that resonated with people,” Driskell said during a phone call with Thursday from Lansing, where she had just completed her orientation.

It was a hard-fought battle for Driskell, who said she had to put some of her duties as a commercial Realtor and on some appointmented boards aside to dedicate her time to the campaign.


Supporters react to Gretchen Driskell's win Tuesday night at the Washtenaw County contingent of the Democratic party's gathering at Weber's Inn.

Courtney Sacco |

“I was surprised at the initial result,” said Keenan Pontoni, Driskell’s campaign manager. “I always had confidence that we could win, but I never thought we had more than a 50 percent chance of winning. It’s still a pretty conservative district and she was competing against an incumbent with a lot of money.”

Though Pontoni said the campaign staff had concerns about the parts of the 52nd District that were more heavily Republican, Pontoni said he believes some of his worries were eliminated by Driskell’s reputation as a bipartisan mayor.

“We worked hard to develop a positive message that ultimately resonated really well with the voters,” Pontoni said. “Our strategy was largely orientated around tapping the voters with Gretchen’s amazing character and personality.”

The voters likely swayed to Driskell’s favor because of her strong stance of restoring funding to public education institutions and her position on women’s rights issues, she said.

Driskell was able to close the margin in some of the precincts that were more heavily Republican, and won all of the precincts in Saline.

“The reason I won in Saline is because people know me and know I’m a hard worker,” Driskell said. “I think (Ouimet) had to win Saline in order to win - and he won Saline last time in 2010.”

Driskell had hired finance director Kristy Pagan early on in her run for the state House, and brought on a full staff, including campaign director Pontoni, after the August primary.

“That’s something I’ve always done is the door-to-door part,” Driskell said, explaining she’s weaker when it comes to organizing fundraising efforts and brought in an experienced staffer to run the show.

With Pagan’s guidance, Driskell raised $180,104 in direct donations and in-kind contributions to her campaign to Ouimet’s $382,082. During the period between the August primary and the November election, Driskell was able to raise more funds than Ouimet and racked up less debt.

What made the difference for Driskell was her outstanding record in Saline and her energy and confidence during the campaign, Pontoni said.

“Gretchen is a true public servant. She’s not a candidate you see every day … A lot of this was largely possible due to a lot of volunteer support and confidence from the Democratic party in the community and in Ann Arbor,” Pontoni said. “The Republican strategy tended to be the strategy that attacked personal records - and it wasn’t effective because her record was so strong.”

In the latter part of her campaign and throughout election week, Driskell said she’s barely had time to breathe.

She was able to have dinner with her father the Monday before Election Day, and realized it was the first time she’d sat down for more than 10 minutes in months.


Gretchen Driskell embraces two of her three children, Ryan, age 27, and Marielle, age 18, after announcing her win in the race for the 52nd District House seat Tuesday night at Weber's Inn.

Courtney Sacco |

Driskell said her family is beyond supportive of her running for the state House, even in the face of the negative advertising that cropped up along the campaign trail after the primary election.

“I told them there was the potential for a lot of negativity,” Driskell said. “Both my kids learned a lot; they’re really excited about what we’re doing.”

After 12 years as mayor, Driskell will be leaving Saline in the hands of Mayor-elect Brian Marl, a sitting Saline City Council member who won the position with 60 percent of the vote Tuesday against former Council Member Glenn Law.

“We have a really strong staff and Brian will do a really great job,” Driskell said.

Driskell said she’ll stay true to her campaign promises of funding schools and working with the interests of small communities at heart.

“I just want to educate people,” Driskell said. “Working with elected officials across the state … we can talk until we’re blue in the face but people need to know what’s going on.”

Pontoni grew up in Dexter and attended school in Ann Arbor. Before joining the Driskell campaign, Pontoni managed Ann Arbor Democrat Andy LaBarre’s successful primary election race for a seat on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners

Driskell’s team additionally consisted of chief strategist Stephen Pontoni, field organizer Katy Kelly, communications manager Alex Yerkey and events coordinator Anna Zinkel.

“My philosophy is you work hard and do your best, and the cards fall where they fall,” Driskell said. “We had a great team and a really strong campaign; that’s what you do.”

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Fat Bill

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

The hate mail the Ouimet camp stuffed my mailbox with every day convinced me the the Republicans would stop at nothing to avoid losing this race. Some of the fliers were so completely laughable that it further reinforced my decision to vote for Driskell.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

If you would have looked carefully, you would have found that OUIMET didn't send out any "hate mail".


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

I think people recalled Ouimet's lackluster performance as a county commissioner as well as the debt of disallowed costs when he was in that position while insinuating that she misspent city money on travel-Did he ever pay the county back?


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Congrats, Gretchen! Note to Mr. Ouimet: I did not enjoy your carpet-bombing my mailbox. Save a forest and focus on the positive.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.

@ Chase Osborne. You have it nailed. Concerning the other posters about "killing babies," the GOP will Never Win on this issue, although I am concerned about the need for More U.S.A. babies (not Illegal Immigrants) to grow-up and pay into Soc Sec so that my Soc Sec monthly "benefit" will continue (I paid into Soc Sec — so-called "FICA — "Federal Insurance Contributions Act" — for More than 50 years). I Deeply Resent Romney branding me as one of the 47% living on "govt hand outs." Total Stupid Jerk IMHO. Further, my impression is that women that abort suffer long-term psychological damage, but that's a discussion for the women that post here. Chase: Thanx for posting "rational." The chat needs more of dudes like you . . . Just saying . . .


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

How did Gretchen Driskell win? Gee, I guess it didn't have anything to do with a majority of voters thinking she was the better candidate.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

So, in your world, "thinking" = assigning characteristics to everyone in a large group of people based on a single characteristic that all of them share? Yeah, that's a "thoughtful" comment.

Basic Bob

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

About half of the voters were straight ticket voters. In that light, it is hard to form an idea using both "majority" and "thinking".

Lets Get Real

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

Lots of interesting takes on this race in the previous comments. Personally, I found Mark willing to listen to my pleas for change, but it wasn't until he left the county and went to the state that the changes came. Thanks for getting the conversation started. In state issues, I found him someone who understood what needed to be done to dig us out of debt - a banker who understood the numbers and made sure they added up. As for Gretchen, the comments about her claims of improving schools is interesting, since schools are not governed by the Mayor; the comments about her rallying the teachers is the Democratic support from unions; the comments about relinquishing some real estate sales speaks to her unrealistic view that she can run a campaign and sell houses and clothes - which is the funny thing about statements which refer to her wardrobe - she sells clothes - to women, who vote, and who have disappointed me in their regression of accountability for wise decision making by voting for the right to abort a fetus created by promiscuous behavior and kill babies that survive out of womb in abortion attempt, and for free contraception so they can pursue a "free" lifestyle rather than a responsible one. Is that the educations she is so anxious to provide for children? I guess we'll all see.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 3 a.m.

Actually Susie these are the attitudes that make some Republicans vote for Democrats!

Susie Q

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

So you think that women who use contraception are promiscuous ? These are the attitudes that make independents vote for Democrats.

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Not to apologize for Ouimet, but I think that many of those commenting are willfully uninformed about the complexities of the political area that he represented. Firstly, Mark's being a middle aged white male is no advantage. There is just a societal resentment against this status and candidates bear the brunt of those who want political revenge on those they perceive as privileged. Then the problem is that Ouimet does have some genuinely, socially conservative beliefs. But he is not a flame thrower to the degree that the Tea Party sympathizers and hard core conservatives on the West Side of Washtenaw County would want, so they walk away from him, because he is not conservative enough. Meanwhile the district has a hard core group of organized teacher and public union members, and abortion rights advocates that simply loath anyone who claims to be pro-life and who will put their money where their mouth is to stamp out any local politician professing such beliefs. So really, Ouiment is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. And with the GOP being in control of the house and many conservative issues finally getting a vote, Ouimet had to vote in accordance with the conservative position or he would have gotten even less support. Note that Rick Olson apparently offended the GOP leadership, who then changed his districts boundaries, ironically, in an effort to help Ouiment. Rick looked at the new district and knew it was a waste of time to even try and run. Often in politics, the lucky one is not the winner. The lucky one is the one that no longer has to spend their time knocking doors, asking people for money and being the subject of comment, whose authors who never let a visceral opinion get in the way of a broader and more accurate view.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 7:49 a.m.

Saline Teacher and Basic Bob have invented a new reason to vote for someone: don't vote for the person whose ideas you think best represent the interests of the district and/or state. Nope. Instead, vote for the candidate from the likely majority party, no matter how destructive their ideas. Seriously?

Basic Bob

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

"Washtenaw County is now pretty much non-existent as far as Lansing is concerned." Our worst nightmare - irrelevant, meaningless representation. They can fight for bragging rights in two years on who had the most liberal voting record.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 2:41 a.m.

"being a middle aged white male is no advantage. There is just a societal resentment against this status and candidates bear the brunt of those who want political revenge on those they perceive as privileged" Kind of grasping at straws there Chase!


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

You forgotten to mention that many of those commenting also don't understand how things work in Lansing (or Washington): the R majority had more than enough votes to pass whatever they wanted, with or without Ouimet. If he consistently votes against his fellow Rs in Lansing, it doesn't change any legislation; and he's got no favors to call in when he needs something for the 52nd or Washtenaw County. As I said in another comment, the new representative-elect is going to be completely useless to the 52nd; she's a freshman in the minority. Washtenaw County is now pretty much non-existent as far as Lansing is concerned.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

Yes, being a middle aged white male has always been a great disadvantage for politicians, Get a grip.

Eat Local A2

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Reminds me of what Jeff Skilling said about their deeds at Enron in the California power crisis: "We're the good guys--we are on the side of angels." People acknowledge that part of reality consistent with the self-image they want of themselves. Neither side is without responsibility for negative campaigning, but essentially outside forces came into the district and carpet bombed with a ton of money. And what the district got was a legislator who will be an impotent part of the minority. Democracy is messy, but the citizens of the 52nd will react to the circumstances that have played out. In the long term, the value of a vote under rule of law cannot be counteracted with any amount of money. As far as quality journalism, if you want that read the Times. I just assume everything here is paid advertising unless disclaimed to the contrary.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7 p.m.

Why aren't we asking how Mark Walberg was re-elected?

Rod Johnson

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

I think it was his incredible performance in Boogie Nights! Oh, you mean TIm Walberg, don't you. I think the answer is that the Dems didn't have a deep bench in the redrawn 7th--Mark Schauer no longer lives in the district, and Joe Schwarz diddled around for a long time before deciding not to run, so the Dems ended up with second-stringers contending for the nomination. And it's a pretty Republican-leaning district, without Ann Arbor.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

How do you forget what Ouimet tried to get away with by getting all that extra money on per diems I'm sure if he had not been caught he sure wouldnt have offered to give it back.. (him and others)


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

I'm glad I'm not alone in remembering this per diem issue.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Whatever happened to our cultural ethic of "Don't Kick a Man when he's Down"? Mark Quimet is a very decent human being. I thank him for his service! Two things affected the vote in the 52nd District. 1. The feeling among women voters, possibly justified, that the Republican party — across the country — wanted to roll back the clock on women's issues. 2. The absolutely stupid attack ads run out of a nameless office in Lansing. Question: What do the Lansing political ad writers know about retail politics? Next election simply say "Thanks, but No. Stay out of my district." During the campaign Mark was quoted that he "had no control over those ads." The voters believed him and voted for his opponent. Who wants to send a man to Lansing that "had no control" over his own campaign? Quit kicking Mark. He's a good man!

Rod Johnson

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 4:55 a.m.

@SalineTeacher: that's only true for super PACs, as far as I know. That may be who was responsible for the ads, I don't know--but if was a regular PAC, like, say, the Republican Party's, it's disingenuous at best for Ouimet to suggest he had no influence. And even if it was a super PAC, the fact that he didn't speak against those ads is an implicit endorsement.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

@Rod: each campaign only controls their OWN advertising, what somebody else does in support or opposition is out of a campaign's control--that's the law. It this a convoluted system? One which seemingly stretches the boundaries of plausibility? Certainly; but that doesn't change anything.

Rod Johnson

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

That, of course, is a matter of debate. Some would say there's ample evidence of his not being an especially good man, gong as far back as his time on City Council, and including the per diem scandal when he was a County Commissioner. His 2010 smear campaign against Christine Green lost him a lot of "good man" points, and of course his abysmal voting record in his House term didn't endear him to the voters who thought he was a moderate. The idea that he had no control over the ads that went out over his name is a little too convenient to believe. To have plausible deniability, your claims have to be, well, plausible.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

As long as we're discussing Gretchen's campaign, how could she claim in her TV ads that she improved the Saline School District? What does the mayor have to do with the schools - especially when the new high school was built in Pittsfield Township?


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

I worked with Ms Driskell on some Saline School issues and was not impressed pretty much a free spender with other peoples money as witnessed by the High School. I could be wrong though every picture I see of her she needs some clothes that fit.

Ivor Ivorsen

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

Really? Can you please enlighten us on Ms. Driskell's role--as mayor of Saline--in the construction of Saline High School? If you are going to make stuff up, at least try to get the appropriate government entities straight. Ever hear something called a "school board" or "district superintendent"?


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

Really?! Really?! We need more legislators with better fitting wardrobes? What?!!!


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

So now you are holding her responsible for the high school? The one that was submitted to the public by Saline Area Schools - not the city of Saline - and was passed by the voters? If so, then I guess the majority of the voters are 'free spenders', except that it is their money.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Wow, really? Going to attack a female politician based on how she dresses? Go back to the 1960s, please.

A Voice of Reason

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Gretchen, you had better side with the teacher's union for every vote or they will take you "out" too.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

I have spent many discussions with my son-in-law that every now and then your vote can make a difference. With Gretchen's victory over Mr. Ouimet, POINT MADE. Congratulations Gretchen.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

Congratulations! I'm so glad you won. (:


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Great, Another Tax & Spend Liberal in the State Assembly.

Basic Bob

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

Let's be open minded enough to believe that Driskell won't blindly follow the folks who paid to get her elected - the MEA. In which case she can start looking for her next job.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

So far I think xmo wins for most pointless use of a cliche today. No attempt at all to back up the claim with any pesky 'facts'. This kind of reminds me of Ouimet's campaign: just throw stuff out there and expect people to believe it. If the Republican party said it, it must be true, right? The people didn't believe it during the campaign, and they aren't believing it now that xmo says it either.

Top Cat

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

I live in the 52nd District and don't believe that calling it "conservative" is accurate. As I recall, Mr. Ouimet's predecessor was Pam Byrnes, a Democrat and this seats has been held by a Democrat more times than not.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

@Susie: the rules for drawing districts say to avoid splitting municipalities and to try to not cross county lines. We have four districts completely in Washtenaw County, and only the City of Ann Arbor (which is too big for a single House district) is split. (And Milan too, but it is on the county line).

Susie Q

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Top Cat, The 52nd district was re-drawn by the Republicans after the 2010 census and after the 2010 election. It was drawn to benefit Mr Ouimet's re-election chances. The City of Ann Arbor (more liberal) had been part of the 52nd, but no longer is. And you are correct....Pam Byrnes was elected several times when A2 was part of that district


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

As long as David Rhoads from the Saline City Council didn't win Mayor Elect - citizens of Saline will be OKAY.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

Chase has it right. Big money controls both sides of the aisles in Lansing and Washington, and to be honest there isn't much difference in either side. Americans have watched their freedom drain away for too long. These two corrupt political parties are choking us to death, and until the public figures it out and stops waving their dem/rep flags, we are screwed.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

I don't see you really agreeing with Chase. The bulk of his response was that the democrats, through some nefarious means, somehow stole this election from Ouimet. Only his final paragraph reflects on both parties. While you seem to feel that both parties are equally corrupt, Chase is seemingly implying that the Democrats are more corrupt.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

My take on the Ouimet defeat is simple. He violated a prime rule of politics. He never worked to soften the opposition that arose against him during the 2010 campaign, and he never followed through on his promises to be moderate and bi-partisan Republican. After his 2010 victory he turned against all democrats like a vicious dog. He was a classic jerk. The word spread among ordinary democrats that he was unapproachable and angry. Ordinary citizens who had an issue with state government a bill or a law quickly learned that if you went to Mark Ouimet he would either degrade you or ignore you. I heard this from many average democrats that were not involved with his 2010 election in any way. In 2012 many voters remembered this and gave him the boot. It's that simple. Mr. Nice Guy turned out to be Mr. Nasty.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Wasn't she a Republican and turned Democrat because that was the only opening?


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

Maybe that is why she is bi-partisan?

mike gatti

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

What a nice story. Good for Gretchen Driskell and good for the 52nd District.

greg, too

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

I thought she won because she had more votes than he did. Maybe I am oversimplifying it...

Jeffersonian Liberal

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

She won because she is a tool for the unions and the dumb masses bought her BS campaign ads. If that's what you want in Lansing, enjoy.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Yup - you're right Rod - I was thinking about 1941 - my bad!

Rod Johnson

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

@Bluto: I don't think so...

Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Rod - Wrong movie - right actor

Rod Johnson

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Hmm, a grasp of history? I'm starting to think you're not really Jonathan "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" Blutarsky.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Jeffersonian Liberal - you display what is wrong with a large section of republicans - they take absolutely no responsibility for failing. Clownfish - Actually Jefferson was a rather complex man and had some liberal views (for his time) - "I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of their country." ~Thomas Jefferson~ November 12, 1816.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

I guess the Founders Republic was not such a good idea, it allows the "dumb masses" to effect elections of representatives. Perhaps a return to Jeffersonian Ideals? White Men only get to vote, slaves are fine if they breed and therefore have good return on investment for their owners and the children should be forced to work in the nail factory. Ahhh, the Good 'Ol Days before those union tools got all heady with power!


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

If I saw that misleading Quimet ad claiming Driskell gave herself eight raises, raised taxes and took lavish trips one more time I was going to hurl. It was on local tv every fifteen minutes for three months. Don't try to tell me or anyone else that Quimet didn't have support or cash. Please.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

Over the years Drisckell was mayor, her salary went from $8,000 to $8,800. It is not like she was giving herself a salary way beyond the average taxpayer.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

No more "misleading" than Ouimet took from schools to give to corporate CEOs.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

He had all the Koch Bros money behind him...I hope they liked throwing millions into the black hole that is republican. They only won like 1% of the races they spent their cash on...


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

I had a problem with Quimet as well as his far-right leaning views, his daily barrage of robo calls, the constant whiney TV ads, and his mountain of fancy, expensive 4-color mail flyers. One day we noticed a Quimet poster stuck in our yard, no permission was ever given for that, ever! So I called to complain & his staff. They accused me of giving them the go-ahead to do so, and under duress, finally sent one of their rude staff members out to remove it. He also accused us.... Liberal Democrats, I might add, of giving them express permission, on the phone, to put the sign in our yard. Yea, sure!!

Basic Bob

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Driskell did not win because she *swayed* voters on education funding and womens rights issues. People who are concerned about these issues would write in their dog before they vote for a Republican.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

As Chase said, a large part of her victory was $300,000 of anti-Ouimet ads in the last two weeks. Nothing particularly wrong (as in illegal) or nefarious about that; but the omission does make this article rather one-sided.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

I am shocked that no one really figured out the real reason Gretchen Driskell won! Mark Ouimet lost because he slashed education funding and taxed seniors. The citizens in his district didn't forget and paid him back in kind. If Randy Richardville, our "reclusive" Senator, had been up for reelection, he would have fared much much worse than Ouimet. Richardville also slashed education and taxed senior citizens. Richardville is completely "out of touch" with his constituents, and has never hosted any town hall meetings or coffee chats for his constituents to meet with him during his current term in office.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Funny, this could all have been said with one simple sentence... "She got more votes than the other guy."


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

I agree with Chase. This is little more than a rah-rah piece. Real journalism would have mentioned all the outside money and included quotes from Ouimet or his staff. It would have also mentioned that Driskell won in spite of this district being gerrymandered to favor Republican candidates.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

I contributed to Mark Ouimet's last campaign because he claimed he would be a moderate voice in the republican caucus in Lansing. He did not live up to this - I didn't contribute or vote for him this time! Congratulations to Gretchen, and it's good to see a public servant who says one thing and does another receive some consequences for his failure to acto according to his word.

Susie Q

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

Remember. folks, endorsed Mr Ouimet. Ms Driskell won in spite of a great deal of negative campaigning; targeted by Mr Ouimet and/or other outside "interest groups". Had Mr Ouimet remained a "moderate Republican", he may have kept his seat. He outraged many of his constituents with his many far rights votes.

Matt Tuck

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

Ouiment voted republican 99% of the time. Thats not going to get the job done.

Rod Johnson

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

To my knowledge, there has been no ownership change since 1976, when Booth Newspapers was bought by Advance Publications. The "MLIVE media group" is just the name for Advance's online properties in Michigan. And "the Ann Arbor News of the old days" under Ed Petykiewicz was an editorially conservative paper.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

The AA News was always farther right than the community it "serves."


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Susie remember that is now owned by the ultra right wing MLIVE media group so it is no surprise that they endorsed Ouimet. Read MLIve and you wil see what I'm talking about. This is no longer the AA News of the old days.

Nick Danger

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

Gretchen won because she is bright,articulate and honest.She is a true public servent and not an ego driven politician


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

And she's not going to be able to do anything for the 52nd in Lansing. Ask Jeff Irwin or David Rutledge how much legislation they've gotten passed.

average joe

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

I agree with Chase. And if the author wanted us to know why Driskell won (as the title suggests), then perhaps she should have included Ouimet's opinion also.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

Careful Chase, its starting to look like you are saying "they organized and had more help" and the only remidy for that is publically-funded (and regulated) elections. And, when you want to call people part of the 'banker class' from a tea party perspective, please remember that the tea party has corporate sponsorship like very few other organizations. Brought to you by Kock Industries - because they want your power plants. Congratulations to Gretchen. You and your team did a great job.

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 11:23 a.m.

Amy: I'm no Ouimet fan, but I think this article is a cheer leading piece, rather than a full vetting of relevant facts. Specifically, it does not mention the $1 million dollar effort by the Democratic Party and Teachers Unions which included the busing in of volunteers (or not volunteers) to work the Driskell Campaign and a $300k television buy placed in the last two weeks to run ads against Ouimet. Ouimet on the other hand, did not have support of the rank and file Tea Party who considered him a bi-partisan, moderate of the banker class. Each election cycle the Teachers Unions and Democrat Party target a single GOP legislator located in a swing district. Other interest groups will target Democrat legislators in swing districts, spending millions of dollars from around the country and bringing in outsiders to work the negative campaign against the incumbent. I don't know how our legislators, regardless of their political affiliation are really anything more than PAWNS in a battle of outside interests, and I don't think your piece reflects that our local media comprehends this reality.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

I got an awful lot of mail for Ouimet, far more than what I got for Driskell. He had a LOT of financial backing in this race.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

What makes the democratic party and Teachers unions "outside interests"? Are there not democrats and teachers in her district? Do you think that Tea Party rank and file that work with Americans for Prosperity and the Kochs are PAWNS?


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

That may be the case Chase, but I received at least 2 pieces of mail every day for a week or more leading up to the election, one talking up Ouimet and another shooting down Driskell. It got quite ridiculous. The Ouimet campaign also placed a large sign on my property, not once, but twice without my permission. Two reps from the Ouimet campaign also came to my house and when I informed them they were trespassing and needed to leave they started arguing with me about how they had the right to be there. On the other hand, I wasn't inundated with crap from the Driskell campaign, no signs were placed on my property, and nobody showed up at my door. Guess who I voted for.