No Vote On Bill To Move Oakland Executive Race

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – The Michigan Senate has decided for now not to switch the election of Oakland County’s executive to midterm instead of presidential election years.

Some Republicans say it makes sense for the suburban Detroit county to elect its top leader when neighboring Wayne and Macomb counties do. Democrats say the bill is a politically motivated bid to help Republicans retain power in Oakland whenever longtime Executive L. Brooks Patterson retires.

His four-year term ends in 2016.

Leaders of the GOP-controlled Senate had indicated their intent to approve the legislation Thursday. But no vote occurred and the Senate adjourned.

It was the last day bills had to win initial approval from one chamber in time for the other chamber to act in the waning days of the session.

Patterson has won election six times to the office since 1992.

Under the bill, whoever wins the 2016 election would hold office for two years rather than four. The following Oakland executive election would occur in 2018 and every four years after.

All the other countywide elections in Oakland would remain in presidential years.

Republicans tend to fare better in midterm races when voter turnout is lower. Democrats typically do better in presidential years when turnout is higher.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the GOP-led House.

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says the Legislature could consider the bill if it’s reintroduced next year.

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