October 19, 2004
7:30 to 9 p.m.
Oakland Community College - Orchard Ridge Campus
Wallace F. Smith Performing Arts Theatre - map

A panel of experts will discuss their evaluations of and predictions for the 2004 presidential election and various campaigns within Michigan. The twice annual Griffin forums are hosted by the Robert and Marjorie Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government, the Political Science Department and the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

CMU and Oakland Community College co-host the Griffin Policy Forum on Campaign 2004


Panelists included (from left to right)

  • Tim Skubick, moderator of the forum; host of WKAR’s “Off the Record”
  • Steve Mitchell, chairman of Mitchell Research and Communications, one of Michigan’s top political polling firms; Political analyst for WDIV-TV 4 in Detroit
  • Paul Welday, chairman of the Oakland County Republican party; former Chief of staff for Rep. Joseph Knollenberg
  • Debbie Dingell, Democratic National Committeewoman; Vice-chair of the General Motors Foundation and executive director of Global Community Relations and Government Relations at General Motors
  • Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party
  • Bill Ballenger, CMU’s Griffin Endowed Chair; editor, Inside Michigan Politics
  • Fred Durhal, former state representative (D-Detroit), and community resource specialist with the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Media Links & Summary

With such a diverse panel, Ballenger expected—and got—some fireworks. “These people are not shrinking violets. These are in-your-face, energetic partisans,” he said.

In an effort to make the Griffin Policy Forum more accessible to Central Michigan University alumni and students in southeast Michigan, organizers took the show on the road last fall. The forum, “Campaign 2004: What Will Happen?” was co-sponsored by CMU and Oakland Community College on Oct. 19 at the Wallace F. Smith Performing Arts Theatre on OCC’s Orchard Ridge Campus in Farmington Hills. Split mostly along party lines, the panelists gave impassioned cases of support for their candidates and for their positions on Michigan’s two ballot initiatives—gambling and gay marriage. CMU’s Griffin Endowed Chair Bill Ballenger selected the timely topic to give panelists and audience members a platform to discuss state races and proposals in addition to the heavily debated presidential election. “Our goal was to get people focused on exactly what was at stake in the election, not only in the presidential race, but in all other races on the ballot,” said Ballenger. “We talked about what it was going to mean not only in terms of winners and losers, but in terms of policy—in what direction the country and state might be going in 2005 and beyond,” he said.

The twice-annual forums are sponsored by the Robert and Marjorie Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government, the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Political Science Department at CMU. The Griffin program seeks to build interest and increased engagement in politics among young adults, faculty, and the general citizenry. The endowment honors Robert and Marjorie Griffin, both distinguished CMU alumni.