By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Politics is a tough business in today’s era of massive campaign spending, instantaneous electronic sliming, dirty tricks, deceptive advertising, bribes and voting fraud. But it also was a dirty, corrosive business in the earliest days of Michigan’s statehood, according to a new biography of its first governor, Stevens T. Mason. When it came to politics, the American frontier was no Eden and politicians were no angels. The Virginia-born Mason moved to Detroit and became secretary of the Michigan Territory when President Andrew Jackson, a fellow Democrat, appointed him at age 19 – too young to vote. He replaced his father in the patronage post.