Michigan

Michigan mayoral races could affect Democrats’ control of state govt

Democrats in Michigan who hold power in the governor’s office and slim majorities in both chambers of the Legislature may be at risk of temporarily losing full control, depending on the results of two mayoral elections Tuesday.

Democrats currently hold a two-seat majority in the state House, and two of those representatives, Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman, are running for mayor in their own districts in suburban Detroit.

Coleman is running to become Westland’s mayor, while Stone is vying for the position in Warren. They both advanced to the Nov. 7 general election after the August primaries. If either wins Tuesday, they will be sworn into office after the election is certified, likely later this month.

The loss of two Democratic state representatives would put the state House in a 54-54 deadlock until special elections could be held for the seats. Democrats would still control the agenda, but they would no longer hold a voting advantage that has allowed them to pass high-priority items this year.

Under Michigan election law, the governor may call a special election in the representative’s district when a seat is vacated, or may direct that the vacancy be filled at the next general election. The two representatives’ districts heavily favor Democrats.

Stone and Coleman will serve the remainder of their terms in the state House if they lose Tuesday. The entire Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in next year’s November general election.

Democrats flipped both chambers in the Legislature while holding onto the governor’s office in last year’s midterms, giving them full control for the first time in 40 years. Since then, they’ve passed gun safety measures, further protected LGBTQ+ and abortion rights, and led Michigan to become the first state in 60 years to repeal a union-restricting law known as “right to work.”

But while Michigan Democrats sped through legislation to start the year, party unity has wavered in recent months.

Key legislation within a Reproductive Health Act package was cut recently over objections from a Democratic state representative, and some party members have also sided with Republicans in recent weeks on financial disclosure bills, saying they didn’t go far enough.

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