LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan voters began casting ballots early Tuesday, seeking to elect a new governor and weigh in on several key statewide, congressional and court races.
Michigan Republicans were hoping to ride a tide of discontent over high unemployment and foreclosure fears on Election Day. Democrats, meanwhile, fought back by knocking on doors, making phone calls and urging their supporters to get to the polls.
Michigan voters were set to choose a new governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general, replacing incumbents who must leave because of term limits. They'll choose between two incumbent justices and two newcomers for the Michigan Supreme Court, select new faces for a majority of state Senate seats and weigh in on several hotly contested congressional races among the state's 15 U.S. House seats, as well as on 110 state House seats.
State Board of Education members and board members for Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University also are up for election. Voters will get to decide if the state should hold a new convention to rewrite the state constitution adopted in 1963 and if politicians convicted of felonies should be barred from office. Scores of local races also will be the ballot.
The key for both sides is turnout. Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land estimates about 3.8 million voters across the state will turn out for Tuesday's election, 52 percent of Michigan's 7.3 million registered voters. That's similar to the turnout in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey estimates 25 to 30 percent of the city's 562,000 registered voters will go to the polls, based on previous midterm elections.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero and running Brenda Lawrence have a number of stops planned Tuesday to pump up enthusiasm after they vote. Bernero will vote Tuesday morning at Lansing's Lewton Elementary School, where his wife is the principal.
The Lansing mayor told workers at the Ford Wayne Integral Stamping and Assembly Plant Monday that he needed their efforts through election day.
"This is the final push," he said. "Give me your time, give me your elbow grease. This is our opportunity."
Snyder, however, said he felt momentum building for Republicans on Monday as he finished his final campaign sweep across the state with running mate Brian Calley in his blue, green and white bus christened the "Nerdmobile." Snyder also could stop in to encourage get-out-the-vote efforts Tuesday when he heads to Detroit.
He plans to vote with his family Tuesday morning at Superior Township Hall in Washtenaw County, then take his daughters to school. The Ann Arbor businessman expects that momentum to translate into wins all down the ticket, helping Republicans hold onto the state Senate and chip away -- or even reverse -- Democrats' 22-seat advantage in the House.
"A lot of the Republicans running have adopted our platform," he told reporters after holding a brief campaign event at a retirement community in East Lansing. "It's really all about the vision plan and action we put out there."
Both candidates will be in Detroit election night for their post-election parties.