The Outcome of Local Elections Could Impact Democratic Hold on Michigan State Government

by Chloe Baker
Michigan mayoral elections

The Democratic Party’s grip on Michigan’s state governance is poised for potential disruption with the forthcoming results of two pivotal mayoral elections this Tuesday. Presently, Democrats are at the helm of the governor’s office and maintain narrow margins of control within both the state House and Senate. However, this could be subject to change.

A delicate balance of power is maintained in the state House with a Democratic margin of just two seats. This balance is particularly precarious as two incumbent Democratic representatives, Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman, are candidates in mayoral races within their respective districts in the suburbs of Detroit.

In the Westland mayoral race, Coleman is a candidate, while Stone is contending for the mayorship of Warren. Their progression to the general election on November 7 follows successful bids in the August primary elections. Should either emerge victorious on Tuesday, they will assume mayoral duties after the election results are officially certified, which is expected to occur later in the month.

Should the Democratic Party lose these two seats in the state House, an even split of 54-54 would ensue, leading to a gridlock situation. Until special elections can be conducted to fill these vacancies, Democrats would retain control over legislative procedures, yet without the advantage in voting power that has been pivotal to advancing their key legislative priorities throughout the current year.

According to Michigan’s election statutes, the governor has the prerogative to call for a special election to fill a vacant representative seat or alternatively decide that it should be filled during the ensuing general election. Notably, the districts of the two representatives in question have historically leaned heavily Democratic.

In the event that Stone or Coleman does not secure a mayoral seat, they will continue to fulfill their legislative duties in the state House. The next comprehensive electoral contest for the Michigan House of Representatives is slated for the general elections of the following year.

The Democratic Party managed to secure control over both legislative chambers in addition to retaining the governor’s office in the midterm elections of the previous year, marking the first instance of such comprehensive control in four decades. In the interim, the party has enacted gun safety laws, bolstered protections for LGBTQ+ and abortion rights, and led Michigan to repeal the “right to work” legislation, making it the first state in six decades to do so.

Despite a strong start to the year with legislative achievements, the unity within the Democratic Party has shown signs of strain of late.

Contention within the party recently led to the scaling back of certain provisions in the Reproductive Health Act package, with opposition from one Democratic state representative. Additionally, fractures have appeared as some Democrats have joined Republicans in critique of financial disclosure legislation, contending that the measures were insufficient.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Michigan mayoral elections

How might the Michigan mayoral races impact the Democratic control of state government?

If Democrats lose two state House seats due to representatives Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman winning their mayoral races, it could lead to a 54-54 deadlock in the state House, affecting the party’s ability to pass legislation until special elections are held.

What will happen if Representatives Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman win their mayoral races?

Should they win, Stone and Coleman will vacate their House seats, resulting in a tied state House and the necessity for special elections to fill their seats. They would take on their mayoral roles after the election certification.

What is at stake for the Michigan Democratic Party in these elections?

The Democratic Party risks losing their voting advantage in the state House, which has enabled them to enact key legislation on gun safety, LGBTQ+ rights, abortion rights, and repealing the ‘right to work’ law.

What will happen to Stone and Coleman if they do not win their mayoral races?

If Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman are not elected as mayors, they will serve out their remaining terms in the Michigan state House of Representatives.

What recent challenges to party unity have Michigan Democrats faced?

The Michigan Democratic Party has seen internal disagreements, notably on parts of the Reproductive Health Act package and financial disclosure bills, with some members feeling the latter did not go far enough.

More about Michigan mayoral elections

  • Michigan State House
  • Democratic Party in Michigan
  • Lori Stone’s Mayoral Race
  • Kevin Coleman’s Mayoral Race
  • Michigan Election Laws
  • Michigan Legislative Control History
  • Michigan Gun Safety Legislation
  • Michigan LGBTQ+ and Abortion Rights
  • Right to Work Law Repeal in Michigan
  • Reproductive Health Act in Michigan
  • Financial Disclosure Legislation in Michigan

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John Doe November 7, 2023 - 6:36 am

seems like the dems could be in for a bit of trouble if they lose those seats gotta wonder if theyre regretting putting up their reps for mayors

Mary Smith November 7, 2023 - 2:52 pm

So what happens to all that progressive legislation if the house gets deadlocked, just sits there?

Kevin T November 7, 2023 - 9:40 pm

interesting times in Michigan politics not often we see such a direct impact of local elections on state level power dynamics

Tom Murphy November 8, 2023 - 12:30 am

Reproductive rights are such a hot button issue, cutting back on the health act? that’s not gonna sit well with the base

Rachel Green November 8, 2023 - 1:02 am

party unity seems to be the crux here, they can’t seem to stay on the same page even with the majority they have right now


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