Political consultant Dennis Denno, who is chief of staff to State Senator Virgil Smith, discusses the elections on Tuesday August 5 in which Smith defeated a challenge from State Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Tlaib was forced to retire from her legislative district seat because of Michigan Term limits and chose to challenge a fellow Democrat, Smith, to survive. Tlaib lost to Smith by a landslide. Tlaib received only 41 percent of the vote or only 8,615 total votes. Smith won an impressive 52 percent of the vote or more than 10,882 total votes. A third candidate, Howard Worthy, won only 8 percent of the vote or1,616 total votes, most of which many observers believed would have gone to Smith. In an ironic twist, the Associated Press called the election for Tlaib counting only ballots cast at the polling booth, but not including absentee ballots that were cast. Smith will go on Nov. 5 to face the Republican challenger, although the district is 71 percent Democratic.
Denno is interviewed by Talk of the Town Radio show host Ray Hanania, managing editor of The Arab Daily News and President and CEO of Urban Strategies Group media consulting. Talk of the Town is broadcast every Friday at 4 pm CST (Chicago time) live on www.YahalaVoice.com and on WCEV 1450 AM radio.
Denno also discusses regional elections including the battle between two term U.S. Congressman Justin Amash and extremist challenger Brian Ellis. Amash easily won in a landslide with more than 57 percent of the votes cast in the Republican primary election. Amash is expected to easily defat his Democratic challenger as the congressional district based around Grand Rapids is overwhelmingly Republican.
Hanania also discusses the decision by the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign to fire Professor Steven Salaita because of his pro-Palestinian viewpoints posted on his Twitter account. Salaita left his longtime teaching position as Virginia Tech and moved with his wife and child this past week to Champaign to begin the position. But before he could start, Chancellor Phyllis Wise cancelled his contract. Click to read a story on the Salaita racial firing.