GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Plenty of state lawmaker seats are up for grabs in the November election, which could lead to a change in control of Michigan’s House and Senate.
The current makeup of the Michigan House is 63 Republicans and 46 Democrats with one vacancy. The empty seat was most recently held by a Democrat, so consider it a 63-47 makeup.
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To take control of the Michigan House, Democrats would have to flip nine seats, changing the ratio to 56 Democrats and 54 Republicans.
Is it possible? Yes. There are enough competitive races where nine seats could change party affiliation, but it depends on turnout and the pull the top of the ticket will have on races further down on the ballot.
In the Senate, Republicans have a stronger hand.
The GOP has 27 members, Democrats have 11 and one vacancy that is a reliable Democratic seat, so you can figure the ratio to be 27-12 when all members were seated.
To regain the majority, Democrats would again have to turn nine seats. However, flipping nine of 27 seats is a considerably tougher task than the nine of 63 seats over in the House.
There appear to be a number of competitive races, particularly given that 19 of the 27 Republican seats are open due to term limits.
In all, 26 current senators will not return in January because of term limits.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Control of the House and Senate is important from legislative standpoint — a party majority has the power to approve amendments (with exception to the Constitution), pass bills and cut off debates.
Majority power is also crucial for redistricting. Traditionally, the House and Senate would redraw district lines in just three years after the next census so the Senate races this year would determine who would control that chamber for that process.
However, if November voters pass Proposal 2, that process could be completely taken away from the Legislature and handed over to a 13-person commission evenly comprised of both major political parties, as well as five people who are unaffiliated.