Wins in mayoral races will temporarily disrupt Michigan Democrats’ full control of state government

FILE - The Michigan State Capitol is photographed, Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in Lansing, Mich. Democrats in Michigan who have enjoyed control of the governor’s office and slim majorities in both chambers of the Legislature for the past year will soon temporarily lose their majority in the House of Representatives. Two state representatives, Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman, won mayoral races in suburban Detroit and are expected to vacate their seats later this month. The loss of two-seats will put the state House in a 54-54 deadlock until special elections can be held. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

By Associated Press

November 8, 2023

LANSING—Michigan Democrats who have controlled the governor’s office and slim majorities in both chambers of the Legislature will at least temporarily lose their full control after two state representatives won mayoral races Tuesday, which will soon put the state House in a deadlock.

Democrats have been able to push through a number of key pieces of legislation in Michigan since they 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.

Two Democratic state representatives, Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman, won mayoral races Tuesday in their own districts in suburban Detroit. The wins will eliminate Democrat’s two-seat majority in the state House and put the chamber in a 54-54 deadlock until special elections can be held for the seats. Democrats will still control the agenda, but they will no longer hold a voting advantage.

It’s not yet clear when special elections will be held in the two districts—which each heavily favor Democrats—but it’s expected to at least be several months. The governor—in this case Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer—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, according to Michigan law.

The entire Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in next year’s November general election.

Coleman won his mayoral race in Westland while Stone won in Warren. Each is expected to be sworn into office later this month after the election is certified, according to local officials.

Democrats have known the loss of full control was a possibility and are expected to try to pass a number of bills this week before Stone and Coleman are sworn in to their mayoral positions.

Fueled by their midterm wins, Michigan Democrats have this year passed a gun safety package, expanded voting rights, free meals for all students and increased protections for abortion rights and LGTBQ+ people. The state also became the first in nearly 60 years to repeal a union-restricting law known as “right-to-work” that was passed over a decade ago by a Republican-controlled Legislature.

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