(Reposted April 24) Now that the April 19 filing and April 22 withdrawal deadlines are both behind us, we know there will be 41 open seats in the state House of Representatives on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.
In 2014, with fewer open seats, nevertheless 42 new members were elected, plus Holly Hughes (R-Montague), who returned after a one-term hiatus. In 2016, almost as many House members (40) are term-limited as there are freshmen now. Plus, second-term incumbent Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline) is giving up her seat voluntarily to run for Congress,which opens up her marginal 52nd district.
The GOP currently holds a 63-46 majority, with one vacancy in the solidly Democratic 28th district that will be filled later this year. Assuming minority Dems hold the 28th, they must net-gain nine seats to regain control of the chamber. The election calendar will help them — more than twice as many Republicans (27) are term-limited than Democrats (13) this year. Of course, most term-limited reps are in safe seats, severely hampering the opposition party’s ability to alter current partisan control.
Winning open seats isn’t the only way for the minority party to recapture minority status — it’s just easier. Knocking off incumbents from the opposing party is more difficult, but it can be done, particularly in a “wave” election year where opposition challengers might get “coattail” help from the top of the ticket.
Below is an up-to-date table broadly summarizing election prospects in all 110 state House districts, by incumbent or otherwise. This is how things look if the general election were held today, without knowing who all the candidates will be, including presidential. A district number by itself, rather than a name, means the sitting member isn’t running again, usually due to term limits (the incumbent’s name follows in parentheses).
Tell us what you think in the “Comments” section following the table. Do Michigan Democrats have a chance to recapture the majority in the state House this year?
2016 STATE HOUSE RATINGS
|Toss-Up/Tilt Democrat||Toss-Up/Tilt Republican|
|Bizon (R)||Iden (R)|
|23rd (Somerville/R)||Kesto (R)|
|52nd (Driskell/D)||24th (Forlini/R)|
|99th (Cotter/R)||57th (Jenkins/R)|
|Likely Democrat||Likely Republican|
|Brinks (D)||Canfield (R)|
|Cochran (D)||Chatfield (R)|
|Dianda (D)||Cole (R)|
|Grieg (D)||Cox (R)|
|Kivela (D)||K. Crawford (R)|
|LaVoy (D)||Glenn (R)|
|Pagan (D)||Graves (R)|
|Yanez (D)||Howell (R)|
|Zemke (D)||Howrylak (R)|
|26th (Townsend/D)||Inman (R)|
|50th (Smiley/D)||T. Kelly (R)|
|96th (Brunner/D)||Lauwers (R)|
|B. Roberts (R)|
|97th (J. Johnson/R)|
|Solid Democrat||Solid Republican|
|Banks (D)||Afendoulis (R)|
|Byrd (D)||Garcia (R)|
|Chang (D)||Leutheuser (R)|
|Chirkun (D)||Lucido (R)|
|Durhal III (D)||A. Miller (R)|
|Faris (D)||McCready (R)|
|Garrett (D)||Runestad (R)|
|Gay-Dragnono (D)||Theis (R)|
|E. Geisss (D)||Vaupel (R)|
|Greimel (D)||VerHeulen (R)|
|Guerra (D)||Victory (R)|
|Hoadley (D)||Webber (R)|
|Kosowski (D)||Whiteford (R)|
|LaGrand (D)||72nd (Yonker/R)|
|Liberati (D)||77th (Hooker/R)|
|Love (D)||86th (Lyons/R)|
|J. Moss (D)||87th (Callton/R)|
|Neely (D)||89th (Price/R)|
|Phelps (D)||102nd (Potvin/R)|
|14th (P. Clemente/D)|
|18th (S. Roberts/D)|
|28th (D. Miller/D)|
So, what do you think? Based on what you see in the above table, and whether you agree with the ratings, do Michigan Democrats have a chance to regain control of the state House this year, for the first time in a half-dozen years?