A Democrat will hold the Michigan Attorney General's Office for the first time since 2002.
With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Dana Nessel leads Republican House Speaker Tom Leonard 48.5-46.8 percent, according to the Associated Press. Leonard refused to concede until Wednesday morning.
She is the first openly gay person to hold state office in Michigan. Current attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette held the office for the last eight years. His time in office was marked by controversy and he will go down as the dirtbag who led the final battle against gay marriage — and lost. Nessel, of course, was the lead attorney in the case of DeBoer v. Gov. Rick Snyder, which challenged the bans on adoption and marriage for same-sex couples in Michigan; that case ultimately got folded into the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges.
Before Schuette, Republican Mike Cox held the office for eight years.
On Tuesday night, Nessel celebrated by saying, "And for all of you that can't handle the fact I'm the first openly gay person to hold statewide office..." and kissing her wife.
“Tom Leonard if you’re watching this, feel free to call me an concede at any time," Dana Nessel said. "...And for all of you that can’t handle I’m the first openly gay person to hold statewide office…” and kissed her wife. @detroitnews— Sarah Rahal (@SarahRahal_) November 7, 2018
During her campaign, Nessel blasted Republicans' approach to criminal justice, telling Bridge Magazine that their "policies are inhumane, costly, and do nothing to enhance public safety." She is a proponent of marijuana legalization and says she'll fight for legislation to expunge past marijuana-related convictions should Prop 1 pass. Additionally, she says she'll advocate to put specialized courts in every jurisdiction, create a "Conviction Integrity Unit" to investigate wrongful convictions, and establish a "Police Conduct Review Team" to investigate abuses of power by officers.
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