6 Burning Questions Heading Into the Election

Will Rashida Tlaib endorse Biden? Will a third-party candidate spoil anything? Here’s what we’re wondering ahead of Nov. 3.
election rashida tlaib
Will Rashida Tlaib endorse Biden? // Photograph courtesy of Rashida Tlaib

Election Day is just a month away. As people across the state prepare to head to the polls or mail in their ballot, we ponder these six burning questions:

Will Rep. Rashida Tlaib eventually endorse Biden?

In July, the controversial Detroit congresswoman caused a stir by telling Newsweek she didn’t think it was necessary for her to endorse the party’s standard-bearer. A Bernie
Sanders fan, she vows to get out the vote by motivating constituents to vote against Trump.

Will Black voters turn out for California Sen. Kamala Harris?

In 2016, Black turnout in cities like Detroit fell substantially from 2012, when President Obama was reelected, as Hillary Clinton failed to reassemble the Obama coalition. Dems hope Harris, the first Black veep contender, will give those who sat out 2016 a reason to vote.

Will a third-party candidate spoil anything?

Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson took a combined 4.7 percent of the presidential vote in Michigan in the 2016 election, or more than 223,000 votes. Clinton lost the state by fewer than 11,000 votes. Howie Hawkins, a Green Party founder, is their nominee this time, and the Libertarians picked Clemson lecturer Jo Jorgensen. A more familiar name — Kanye West — won’t be on the Michigan ballot.

Is Rep. Fred Upton in trouble?

The 17-term GOP incumbent from southwest Michigan faces state Rep. Jon Hoadley, the state’s first LGBTQ major-party House nominee. Upton, a rare moderate Republican in the House, beat a less well-known and well-financed Democrat in 2018 by just 4.5 percentage points. If there’s another blue wave, Upton, 67, could be washed out.

Will a Dem run Oakland County?

Former Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter, appointed to replace the legendary Republican L. Brooks Patterson as county executive, faces off former state Sen. Mike Kowall. Patterson, who died in 2019, held the job for a quarter-century, during which the region went from GOP stronghold to, in 2018, overwhelmingly supporting Democrat Gretchen Whitmer for governor.

Will voters punish state Sen. Peter Lucido?

Lucido, a Shelby Township Republican, is running for Macomb County prosecutor against retired Circuit Court Judge Mary Chrzanowski, a Democrat, just months after being accused by a 22-year-old reporter of demeaning her in front of a group of teenage boys visiting the Capitol in Lansing. The GOP caucus yanked him from a committee chairmanship as punishment. 

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Steve Friess is news and features editor at Hour Detroit and a contributing writer for Newsweek. A Long Island native who earned a journalism degree at Northwestern University, Friess worked at newspapers in Rockford, Illinois, Las Vegas, and South Florida before launching a freelance career in Beijing, China, where he served as chief China correspondent for USA Today. After his return to the U.S. in 2003, he settled in Las Vegas, where he covered the gambling industry and the American Southwest regularly for The New York Times, Playboy, The New Republic, Time, Portfolio, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, New York magazine, and many others. During that time, he created and co-hosted two successful and groundbreaking podcasts, the celebrity-interview show The Strip and the animal affairs program The Petcast. In 2011-12, Friess landed a Knight-Wallace Fellowship for mid-career journalists at the University of Michigan. That was followed by a stint as a senior writer covering the intersection of technology and politics at Politico in Washington, D.C., In 2013, he returned permanently to Ann Arbor, where he now lives with his husband, son, and three Pomeranians. He tweets at @SteveFriess and can be reached at sfriess@hour-media.com.