Michigan’s legislature is up for grabs: These are races to watch on Election Day

Michigan’s legislature is up for grabs: These are races to watch on Election Day

Republicans currently have a 22-16 majority in the state Senate and a 56-53 majority in the House.


New political district maps drawn up by a newly created independent redistricting commission have given Democrats a chance to win the Senate, based on voting patterns in the last election.

The new maps tilt Republicans 56-54 in the House, while Democrats are favored 20-18 in the Senate, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis of recent presidential elections.

“There is a very real belief that we, for the first time since 1984, have an opportunity to take control of the state Senate,” said Kristen McDonald Rivet, the Democratic candidate in the competitive 35th Senate District that covers Midland, Saginaw and Bay Area. City. .

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, recently told Bridge that he is “100 percent confident that we are going to retain the majority,” but noted that Republicans have to “work harder.” this time than we’ve probably done in 35 years.”

Democrats also have a chance to change the House, but that’s a more difficult task, analysts say.

“Democrats have to defend the seats that they currently have and they have to play offense to get there,” said Democratic strategist Adrian Hemond of Grassroots Midwest. “It’s not impossible, but I’m very skeptical that they can make it to 56.”

In the event that the Senate results in a tie 19-19, the party that wins the gubernatorial race also makes a difference, since the lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and can cast a tie-breaking vote.

analysts for Sabato crystal ball have classified both the Michigan House and Senate as undecided, citing new political district maps, big spending and “clear Democratic momentum up and down the ballot in Michigan.”

Michigan was leading the nation in ad spending for state legislative candidates in October, reaching nearly $30 million, according to the research firm AdImpact.

And the money kept pouring in during the final stretch before Election Day. Initially, Democrats had a fundraising advantage in many key races, giving candidates an advertising edge.

But Republican candidates have kept pace. In several House races, they entered the final week of the election with more money to burn than their opponents.

Recent campaign finance releases show that 63 Republican House candidates had more cash on hand last week than their Democratic rivals, compared to 47 Democrats. Twenty Democratic Senate candidates had more money than their Republican opponents.

Not all legislative districts are competitive, of course, as certain regions of the state lean heavily toward one party. But the new political districts, as well as changing political sentiments, have created several random districts across the state that will determine which party gets the deck.

Here are some areas of the state that could determine which party controls the Legislature:

suburban detroit

Several districts incorporating portions of Detroit’s metropolitan suburbs are crucial.

In the Senate District 11Incumbent Sen. Michael MacDonald, R-Macomb Township, is facing Macomb County Commissioner Veronica Klinefelt, D-Eastpointe. The district is much more competitive than the one MacDonald now represents and includes a part of the city of Detroit, which is heavily Democratic.

Both sides have invested a lot of money in Macomb County Senate District 12, where incumbent Reps Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores and Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, square off.

In Oakland County, voters have leaned Democratic in recent cycles, causing races like the Senate District 9 race between former Rep. Michael Webber, R-Rochester Hills, and Rep. Padma Kuppa, D-Troy, a race to watch.

another is the 55th house districtt, where incumbent Rep. Mark Tisdel, R-Rochester Hills, faces Patricia Bernard, D-Rochester Hills.

Detroit’s Downriver suburbs are also becoming more conservative, sparking competition in the Senate District 4 between Limited Term State Rep. Darrin Camirelli, D-Trenton, and Houston James, R-Flat Rock.

County of Kent

Voters in several western Michigan communities are seeing more competitive races, especially in Grand Rapids and the region’s long-defended waterfront districts.

the Senate District 30 He faces two state legislators, Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, and David LaGrand, D-Grand Rapids. Although the area has typically been a Republican stronghold, Democrats have made gains in recent elections.

House races in Kent County should be just as interesting, including the 81st House District, where State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, faces former State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township, and the House District 84, where state Rep. Carol Glanville, D-Walker, is seeking to keep her seat after winning a special election. She is running against Republican Mike Milanowski.

middle michigan

A big change to Michigan’s existing political maps was drawing the Republican-leaning city of Midland in the same state Senate seat as Democratic-leaning Saginaw and Bay City.

The resulting Senate District 35 pitting Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, against Democratic Bay City Commissioner Kristen McDonald Rivet, and has become key to determining Senate majority control.

Bay and Saginaw counties, as well as neighboring Genesee County, have trended Republican in recent elections, though Democrats still have deep roots in the region. US Representative Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, is up for re-election in one of four congressional districts that could be competitive this year.

House incumbents Timothy Beson, R-Bay City, and David Martin, R-Davison, who flipped seats previously held by Democrats, edged out their respective opponents Kim Coonan, D-Bay City, and Cheri Hardmon, D -Grand. White

In the north

Overall, Northern Michigan is solidly Republican, barring a few Democratic hot spots. But redistricting and shifting political winds could tip the scales in two of Michigan’s most contested state House seats.

Incumbent Rep. Jack O’Malley, R-Lake Ann, found himself in one of the state’s hottest legislative races against Betsy Coffia, D-Traverse City, after redistricting created the new House District 103 with a nearly 50-50 split between Republican and Democratic voters.

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