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Mich. Husband and Wife Both Eye Stabenow Challenge

Dick DeVos (R), son of Amway Corp. co-founder Rich DeVos, may challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) in 2006.

So might his wife, Betsy DeVos, who just announced she will step down as Michigan Republican Party chairwoman in February, both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News reported last week.

Betsy DeVos also has been mentioned as a potential 2006 challenger to Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).

Betsy DeVos, who saved the state party from bankruptcy, is also rumored to be a potential appointee in President Bush’s new Cabinet. She formerly served as a Republican national committeewoman.

Her husband stepped down in 2002 as president of Amway’s successor, Alticor Inc.

Reps. Mike Rogers (R) and Candice Miller (R) also have been mentioned as possible challengers to Stabenow, but Rogers told the Detroit papers he is more interested in rising in House leadership for now.

— Nicole Duran

Ross Concedes Race — On His Radio Show

Failed Congressional candidate Dave Ross (D) returned to his popular Seattle talk show Thursday after conceding defeat to Rep.-elect Dave Reichert (R) in the swing 8th district — on the air, The Seattle Times reported.

Ross will resume broadcasting three hours a day, five days a week, on KIRO-AM — the position he held before taking a leave of absence in July to run for the open seat.

Reichert, the well-known King County sheriff, was leading Ross in the race to replace Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R) by more than 10,000 votes despite the fact that thousands of ballots await counting.

Both national parties heavily targeted the suburban Seattle seat in the race between two political neophytes. But Reichert’s law-and-order background and personal likability proved too hard for Ross to match.
— N.D.

Pundits Say Wetterling Could Win Next Cycle

Just hours after Election Day, Gopher State political observers opined that children’s advocate Patty Wetterling (D), who ran a competitive race against Rep. Mark Kennedy (R), is in prime position to capture the 6th district seat should Kennedy vacate it in 2006 to challenge Sen. Mark Dayton (D).

“I think she can only go up as a candidate,” Minnesota Democratic Party Chairman Mike Erlandson told the Duluth News-Tribune.

If Kennedy does not seek re-election in 2006, as most political watchers expect, “I think it would make her the leading candidate to take the seat,” Blois Olson, a political analyst and co-publisher of, told the paper.

Wetterling took 46 percent of the vote in a suburban district that gave President Bush almost 57 percent against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Tuesday.
— N.D.

Voters Split on Whether to Restore Open Primary

Voters in these two West Coast states differed last week on the question of whether to re-establish open primaries.

In Washington, 60 percent of voters approved a measure to adopt a Louisiana-style primary, in which candidates for office would run together in an open primary. The top two primary votegetters, regardless of party, would then advance to a general election.

“Voters don’t like to be told who they can and can’t vote for,” David Burr, communications director for the Washington State Grange, told The Tacoma News Tribune. “They don’t like having their choices restricted.”

The Grange, an agricultural group, had been the leading advocate for the open primary. Washingtonians had voted in open primaries for decades until the Supreme Court struck down the state’s version of the system, forcing a closed primary in the Evergreen State this September for the first time in more than 60 years.

Under Washington’s previous open primary system, all candidates appeared on the same ballot with the top Democrat and top Republican advancing to the general election. A similar system in California had also been struck down by the courts.

But offered an opportunity to also adopt a Louisiana-style primary, Golden State voters declined. Fifty-four percent of the electorate voted against the open primary measure.

Two polls earlier in the fall had shown strong, though not overwhelming, support for an open primary, and popular Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) had broken with the California Republican Party and supported it (the state Democratic Party also was opposed).

“Voters woke up to this measure late in the process,” Dave Gilliard, a strategist for the campaign to defeat the open primary initiative, told The Sacramento Bee. “They were very concerned that they wouldn’t be able to vote for a candidate of their choice in the general election.”

But supporters of the open primary grumbled that opponents confused the issue by putting another measure to maintain the status quo on the same ballot. That initiative, which was put on the ballot by the Legislature, got 67 percent of the vote, maintaining the closed primary for now.
— Josh Kurtz

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