With only a week left until the Nov. 8 general election, Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) asked Bill Ballenger for answers to four questions:
- How much impact is the story that the FBI has reopened its email/private server investigation of Hillary Clinton going to have on the presidential race?
Answer: Maybe 1-3 points — all in favor of Donald Trump and maybe Gary Johnson — provided James Comey is silent between now and Election Day, and nothing more develops related to the FBI story. If Comey comes out with anything more, it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t alleviate some of Hillary’s current pain, but in this crazy year who knows whether still another bomb might explode, and that includes more from WikiLeaks.
2) Donald Trump made two stops in Michigan Monday. Is Michigan now in play for him, or is Trump just wasting his time?
Answer: The Mainstream Media is puzzled that Trump is spending time in a state they don’t think he can win, but The Donald evidently believes he’s still got a shot, especially after Comey’s letter to Congress last Friday. At the very least, Trump is doing something the last two Republican nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, didn’t do. He’s helping energize down-ballot Republican candidates throughout Michigan and mitigating the possibility that they’ll suffer from his presence at the top of the ticket.
3) How will the reopening of the FBI investigation impact down-ballot races?
Answer: It can only help Republican candidates everywhere — the sole question is how much.
4) Are the Democrats making a mistake by failing to more actively support the campaigns of their state Supreme Court nominees?
Answer: Probably not. Michigan Democrats have only so many fish to fry, and neither Republican Supreme Court nominee is the inviting target Chief Justice Cliff Taylor was in 2008, which is the only time in the past three decades an incumbent has been bumped off. Sitting justices always have a built-in advantage because of their incumbency designation on the ballot unless, like Taylor, they’re presiding over a wrangling, dysfunctional court. Also, 2008 was a “wave” Democratic year, and with a state Dem chairman like Mark Brewer, who really cared about who sat on the high bench, Democrats tethered the Supreme Court races to Barack Obama and poured everything into defrocking Taylor with a female candidate sporting a familiar surname (Diane Hathaway, whose own problems occurred after she was elected). None of that was likely to happen this year, especially since, even if Hillary carries Michigan, it’s not going to be by the margin Obama did in 2008.
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