Pat O’Keefe, a Republican, won a seat on the Michigan state board last November by 48,230 votes.
It might sound like a solid margin, but 9.8 million votes were cast statewide for a pair of open seats. (Each voter could choose two names.) The Bloomfield Hills business consultant beat the top two finalists by less than a percentage point.
O’Keefe, who caused a stir at a board session on Friday, finished just half a percentage point ahead of Brian Mosallam, a Democrat from Dearborn who lost his try for a second eight-year term on the board of directors of their alma mater.
O’Keefe was eight tenths of a percentage point ahead of Tonya Schuitmakether, a Republican from Inkster who finished fourth. (Rema Vassar, Democrat at Eastern Michigan University, was the other eight-year term recipient.)
It was a fair election, but turnout was significantly lower than the main Biden vs. Trump fight. As in other ‘re-ballot’ contests for county offices, local courts, and municipal offices, voter ignorance or apathy favors candidates with recognized names, well-funded campaigns and l niche appeal.
In his 2020 presentations, O’Keefe denounced “the censorship of speech on campus” and called for supporting “diversity initiatives by educating Michigan students” rather than foreigners or foreigners. His campaign site proclaims, “Pat is a true conservative who believes the voices of conservative MSU students have been silenced for too long. He will protect free speech for all members of the campus community.”
True to form, he used Friday’s board meeting as an opportunity to oppose MSU’s Covid vaccine mandate for students and staff, while sweeping away advocates for reproductive choice in the same sentence:
“Regarding the freedom of choice as to whether a warrant for a Covid drug is appropriate, I would only suggest that it looks like ‘my body, my choice’ only applies to the murder of babies on campus academics, ”he quoted The State News and The Detroit News as saying. Demanding shots “doesn’t follow the science, it follows the herd,” O’Keefe added.
This puts the accountant at odds with President Samuel L. Stanley, a graduate of Harvard Medical School.
It also serves as a reminder that abstinence from the reduced ballot can have long-term consequences. Pat O’Keefe, who equates pregnancy termination decisions with “killing babies,” retains his seat until 2028.
► The choice should apply to the vaccine, not “just to kill babies on college campuses” – MSU Trustee
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Honestly, I’m a voter in every election who doesn’t necessarily pick candidates in every race. This lazy mistake allows committed activists to elect someone like O’Keefe, founder of a financial and turnaround consultancy firm who graduated from MSU in 1976 and earned a master’s degree at Wayne State for six years. later.
Here’s a look at just how tight Michigan State’s last plank race was, according to the Ballot database (table below):
♦ At least 4.9 million voters participated, assuming each chose two candidates. That’s 623,764 less than the number of presidential votes in Michigan on November 3.
♦ If Brian Mosallam had received 48,231 more votes – less than 8% of those 623,764 presidential voters who ignored the choices of the MSU board – he would have been at the board table on Friday on the fourth floor of the administration building Hannah.
“Every vote counts” is one of those clichés that are true, as reinforced by these tweets:
Good question. We must not have paid much attention to the races on the board of directors of the university.
– Rick Haglund (@rhaglund) September 10, 2021