By Connor Hansen
The Lansing Star
LANSING — In the upcoming election for Michigan’s attorney general, incumbent Bill Schuette appears to some to be the heavy favorite. Schuette, a Republican, was elected in 2010 and is now running for reelection.
Former political science professor and political consultant Paul Conn has lived in the Lansing area for 67 years and said “I can’t think of one attorney general, who was an incumbent, who got defeated. When there are open seats it’s different, they have a chance, but when there’s an incumbent running it’s kind of tough.”
The Director of Public Affairs of the Attorney General, Rusty Hills said “Bill has a strong record and he is running on his record.” Schuette has done some high profile work in the last four years giving him good publicity, according to Hills. He said that he is known for forming a commission on human trafficking, school safety programs and pushing to have more police officers on the streets.
“We will make a difference right here in Lansing,” Hills said. “If we could get more cops on the street here in Lansing, we can get more jobs, if people feel safer in downtown Lansing, there will be more people moving in and more businesses opening up.”
Hills said that Schuette would like to get 1,000 more police officers on the street in Michigan and that “We will never have a full economic recovery in Michigan until everyone is safe in their neighborhoods, homes and schools.”
Even though Paul Conn thinks that Schuette has the advantage in the election, he does not think he has done that much to directly influence Lansing. “The only thing that he’s done that directly affects Lansing is that he has been fighting a casino coming to Lansing,” Conn said. “It fits in with his basic conservative outlook and a moral objection to gambling.” The casino is a project that Mayor Virg Bernero is a fan of.
One of Schuette’s competitors is Democrat Mark Totten. Totten is a law professor at Michigan State University and was a volunteer federal prosecutor. On his website, Totten claims “Like never before, we’ve seen our Attorney General serve his party, his patrons, and his own political career. And today every Michigan family is less safe because of it.”
To Justin Fisher, a junior lobbyist from Capital Strategies Group in Lansing, Bill Schuette’s experience and track record will be his main advantage in this election. “When you look at the success of the conviction rate in high profile cases that Schuette prosecuted as Attorney General, in comparison to Totten, who has limited relevant experience, it’s easier to measure the success rate, and it’s harder to predict how Totten would be if elected to the position,” Fisher said.
Although Justin Fisher and Paul Conn believe that Schuette will be the favorite in the election, Rusty Hills thinks it will still be a tight race. “Michigan is really a purple state, any time you run state wide there are very few blowouts, especially for Republicans,” Hills said.