AP: Gretchen Whitmer wins over Bill Schuette in Michigan gubernatorial race

AP: Gretchen Whitmer wins over Bill Schuette in Michigan gubernatorial race.

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has won the race for Michigan governor, defeating Bill Schuette and upending years of Republican control in the state.

Whitmer, a former legislative leader, will succeed term-limited Gov. Rick Snyder.

According to current unofficial vote totals, Whitmer garnered 53 percent of the vote with 72 percent of precincts reporting as of 1 a.m. Wednesday. Schuette pulled 44 percent, while all other challengers pulled 1 percent or lower of the total vote count.

Whitme ran on a platform of fixing problems such as deteriorating roads and aging drinking water infrastructure. She also emphasized her past vote to expand Medicaid to more than 600,000 lower-income adults under the federal health care law.

The 47-year-old Whitmer, of East Lansing, will become Michigan's second female governor when she takes office.

The conservative Schuette faced criticism for challenging the health law in court and defending the state's gay marriage ban against a lawsuit. He was backed by President Donald Trump in the state Trump won in 2016 - but not by the moderate Snyder.

Whitmer off to an early start in election returns

With just 1 percent of the vote counted, Whitmer jumped into the lead, but the race was close throughout the night.

As both gubernatorial candidates began to enjoy their watch parties, Schuette said he was confident the votes would go in his favor, in spite of the latest poll showing he continues to trail Whitmer.

Nicole Simmons, Press Secretary for Gretchen Whitmer, said she was feeling confident that her campaign did enough to push them across the finish line.

Schuette said the gap was closing and thought his economic push is exactly what voters wanted to hear.

“We are going to win. People want to make sure we have more jobs more people in this state a bigger paycheck. That is a strong message of where Michigan will go in the future," he said.

Whitmer was busy voting and then getting others to vote.

People said the 2018 midterm is important for people and said the Millennials are starting to pay attention to politics.

Amy Popek said, “People want to see change in leadership, people want to see change in the way things are being run.”

Jaclyn Bassett said, “We are approaching the age where we realize we have a stake in the future.”

Candidates vote early

The gubernatorial candidates have voted, the watch parties are set and the polls are open until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer will be holding a watch party at the Motor City Casino in Detroit, along with other Democrats on the ticket.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette and Lisa Posthumus Lyons will watch the results roll in at the Lansing Center.

Whitmer is hoping to be second female governor in state history. She cast her ballot in East Lansing on Tuesday morning before hopping on her bus for a last-minute push.

Over the past few days Schuette has taken to calling himself “The Comeback Kid.” Schuette voted in Midland before a trip to Marquette and Detroit.

Whitmer's journey to election today started back in January 2017 when she filed her paperwork with the Michigan Secretary of State.

The doors open to the public for the Whitmer event at 7 p.m. and the Schuette election party doors open at 7:30 p.m.

We will be tracking the results of the Michigan governor’s race. Follow Veronica Meadows and Mikenzie Frost on Twitter for up to the second details.

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