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Christianity Today has identified four key races to follow on Election Night. These contests feature debates about issues of special concern to evangelicals.

How bad is Michigan's economy? A Republican political neophyte who started with little name recognition has mounted a credible challenge to a Democratic governor touted four years ago as a rising star in her party. Keep in mind, Michigan voters have elected two Democratic senators and backed Democrats for President in 2000 and 2004.

Indeed, the September news of massive layoffs by Ford has become far too common in Michigan. Unemployment stands at 7.1 percent, well above the national average. What's bad for the state could be good for the campaign of Dick DeVos, the Republican. The name may sound familiar to evangelicals. His father, Rich DeVos, helped found Amway Corporation and bankrolled many evangelical schools and ministries.

The younger DeVos, past president of his father's company, prefers to tout his family's entrepreneurial spirit.

"DeVos has really stuck to that job-creation, change-the-economy message," said the Acton Institute's Jerry Zandstra. "It's very, very rare for him to address social issues of any kind."

Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2003 vetoed a partial-birth abortion ban. The legislature overturned the veto in 2004. But earlier this year, she also signed a bill that requires abortion providers to show abortion-seeking women an ultrasound image of their unborn child.

So you might expect evangelicals to spread their votes evenly between the two parties. Maybe, but according to Corwin Smidt, executive director of Calvin College's Henry Institute, research indicates evangelicals have become more receptive to Republican economics.

"Whereas evangelicals were fairly ...

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Races to Watch: Governor of Michigan
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November 2006

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