Posted on | February 28, 2012 | 20 Comments
Election Day reporting from Hell, Michigan, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012
THREE MILES FROM HELL, Michigan
On my way from Troy to Grand Rapids — site of Rick Santorum’s Michigan primary victory party tonight — I got a late start and realized I wouldn’t make it in time for Senator Santorum’s 3 p.m. event at his campaign office there. That’s when it hit me: I should go back to Hell.
Saturday night’s trip was fun, but I hadn’t done much actual political reporting during that visit, so clearly I needed a return trip to answer the question, “How is the turnout in Hell?”
You might think Hell would be full of Democrats, but an informal Saturday night survey of patrons at the Dam Site Inn revealed that there were a lot of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul supporters there, and so I reset the GPS and made my way back through Pinckney and hooked a left on the road to Hell.
Arriving at the general store and post office — Hell in a Handbasket — the place was empty except for the manager, who was working in Hell’s Kitchen, preparing the cilantro dijon garlic mayo for their Hellacious Cuban Sandwich. This sounded tempting, and when the manager asked if I would like one, I said, “Oh, Hell, yes!”
The general store, Hell in a Handbasket
While she prepared my sandwich, I asked the manager (who refused to give her name) if she was a Republican, and she was. Did she have a favorite candidate? Had she voted yet? No, she hadn’t voted, and she was kind of struggling with her choices.
It figured: An undecided voter in Hell.
“I like Mitt,” she said, but didn’t like his RomneyCare record in Massachusetts. “I don’t know if you can trust anybody anymore.”
The manager of Hell’s Kitchen makes me a Hellacious Cuban Sandwich
By the way — for those of you who have asked since Saturday — no, it wasn’t frozen over.
It snowed Friday in Hell, but most of the snow has melted by now and, although I suppose local kids might have gotten in a few snowball fights, ultimately those snowballs didn’t have much of a chance.
Seeing that the manager of Hell’s Kitchen wasn’t comfortable talking about politics, I browsed around the general store for a little while, selecting a few souvenirs — a coffee mug and two refrigerator magnets — and noticed that they sold postcards: “Greetings From Hell.” I asked the manager if I could mail a postcard from there, and she said yes, as a matter of fact, she was also the local postmaster and the mail office was right there in the store.
So I inscribed the back of the postcard with a note to my wife, who has been telling me to go there for the past 20 years.
The post office in Hell, Michigan
Although I was only there about 20 minutes, it seemed like an eternity. The manager finished making my sandwich and came to ring up my purchases, including a bottle of Faygo Root Beer (of course, there’s no coffee in Hell) and I asked her where people from Hell go to vote. She gave me directions, and I took my sandwich and got back in my car, making sure that as I left, I drove like a bat.
While the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, the road from Hell is not paved at all. The lady had given me directions to take a dirt road to get back on Highway 36, where I turned right and drove to the Putnam Township Hall. This was the voting site for precincts 2 and 3, but the lady in charge explained that Hell is in Precinct 1, which voted at Pinckney Elementary School down the road.
There I found the polling place and talked to the Precinct 1 co-chairwomen, Judy Paul and Janet Rindfusz, who told me that, as of 3:30 p.m., 205 people had voted in Hell’s precinct. About half of those were absentee or early votes, so if another hundred people were to vote in the precinct before polls close at 8 p.m., roughly a third of the ballots would be absentee.
The precinct co-chairwomen didn’t know whether this turnout should be characterized as light or heavy, since they didn’t know how many registered voters were in the precinct, but advised that I could check the results after 9 p.m. on the Livingston County Web site — which I most certainly will.
So then I drove down here to the McDonald’s in Pinckney to get online and file my report because, of course, there is no WiFi in Hell.
As for predictions tonight, all I can say is that as I drove to Hell and back, the only campaign signs I saw were for Ron Paul.
UPDATE: Headline from Politico:
Mitt’s criticism of Santorum? Yeah, it’s hypocritical as Hell.
Update (Smitty): linked by The Lonely Conservative.
- Feb. 28: Santorum Turns the Tables on Mitt in Michigan With Robo-Calls to Democrats
- Feb. 28: MICHIGAN REPUBLICAN PRIMARY TODAY
- Feb. 27: Rick Santorum in Lansing, Michigan, Calls Romney’s Attack Ad Campaign a ‘Joke’
- Feb. 27: Santorum: The Fight and the Fighter
- Feb. 26: My Saturday Night in Hell
- Feb. 25: Nuns for Santorum
- Feb. 24: Michigan: Fish Fry Friday
- Feb. 24: Fear and Loathing in Romneyland
- Feb. 23: New TV Ad Quotes Mitt Romney
- Feb. 23: Erick Erickson, Santorum Consultant?
- Feb. 23: Have the Deciders Decided? Examining the Post-Debate Examinations
- Feb. 22: CNN ARIZONA DEBATE
- Feb. 22: Satan Angered by New Poll Showing Santorum Ahead 34%-18% in Wisconsin
- Feb. 22: Romney’s Money Problems — and Mine
- Feb. 21: Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Meanwhile, Back on the Campaign Trail …
- Feb. 21: Campaign Cash Shows Unsustainable ‘Burn Rate’ for Romney and Gingrich