Michigan's attorney general and secretary of state offices are under good stewardship with Bill Schuette and Ruth Johnson, respectively. There are no compelling reasons for voters to change leadership.

The challengers, Mark Totten for attorney general and Godfrey Dillard for secretary of state, are attractive candidates who offer solid ideas for administrating those offices.

But both Schuette and Johnson have done their jobs well, and have interesting plans for their next terms.

Schuette, a former congressman and state appeals court judge, has taken his job of defending the state Constitution seriously.

He took criticism for fighting in federal court for the voter-passed ban on gay marriage. His explanation that he is legally required to defend state laws gained credibility when he also went to court in a failed attempt to protect the pensions of Detroit retirees from the city's bankruptcy.

In both instances, Schuette argued that he was upholding state law.

He placed a focus on violent crime, working with local prosecutors, particularly in Metro Detroit, to bolster their efforts to get criminals off the street.

He's also been a champion of victims of human trafficking, successfully pursuing cases against those who press women and teens into the sex trade.

Schuette says he will continue those fights in a second term, with a particular emphasis on helping Detroit improve public safety coming out of bankruptcy.

His challenger, Totten, is a Michigan State University law professor and former contract federal prosecutor from Kalamazoo. He says he would emphasize protecting families from violent and economic crimes, and crack down on predatory lenders.

He presents himself well. But Schuette's experience and successful first term make him the better choice.

Ruth Johnson gets credit for ongoing attempts to ease the waiting lines at secretary of state offices. She expanded the use of the Internet for routine transactions, and set a goal of moving at least half the current business now done in offices to the Internet or mail.

Johnson has made it easier for those in the armed forces to cast their ballots. And she's been a passionate advocate for organ donations. She is beginning pilot programs to determine whether kiosks in retail outlets or outsourcing some functions to private vendors could save money and make things easier.

Johnson is expanding the Voter Information Center to make it easier for Michigan residents to find out how and where to vote, and to view a sample ballot. Registrations have climbed during her first term.

Her opponent, attorney Godfrey Dillard of Detroit, says he would spend most of his time making voting simpler and holding candidates accountable to the state's campaign finance laws.

Ruth Johnson made things better for customers, and for voters. She deserves a second term.

To read all Detroit News endorsements thus far, go to

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