Michigan Election 2018: Democrat Dana Nessel elected as state's next attorney general

Nessel beats Leonard in Michigan Attorney General race

Dana Nessel (WDIV)

DETROIT – Democrat Dana Nessel beat Republican Tom Leonard in the race for Michigan Attorney General. 

Leonard conceded the race to Nessel on Wednesday morning.

Dana Nessel is best known for successfully fighting to overturn Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.  

Nessel, 49, has been a Detroit-area prosecutor and defense attorney but made headlines as co-counsel in the historic lawsuit that led to same-sex marriage in Michigan. She said the case influenced her to run for office. She said Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette “made a mockery of state government” by bringing social scientists to court to knock the parenting skills of same-sex couples.

“There are LGBTQ people clamoring for representation and tired of the office of attorney general using them as a punching bag,” said Nessel, who is gay.

The attorney general’s office is overseeing criminal cases related to the Flint water crisis. Nessel said she would dismiss special prosecutor Todd Flood and bring in a new team to evaluate the cases.

Nessel said she would try to shut down Line 5, the oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. She said she would stop defending the state in certain lawsuits over the bungling of unemployment benefits, an issue now at the Michigan Supreme Court.

“The right thing to do is give people their money back. It’s not to defend a state agency in any way you possibly can. ... The office could be taking a more proactive approach to protecting people, whether it’s protecting people’s health care or consumers or seniors or veterans,” Nessel said.

She said she’s willing to sue President Donald Trump’s administration over federal policies.

November 6, 2018 Michigan General Election results -- view here

About the Authors:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.