Whitmer calls for special election to end House deadlock

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a Clinton Global Initiative meeting on Sept. 19 in New York City. (Noam Galai/Getty Images for Clinton Global Initiative)

By Kyle Kaminski

November 22, 2023

Michigan Democrats hope to regain majority control of the state Legislature after two lawmakers won recent mayoral races in Warren and Westland—creating a 54-54 partisan deadlock in the state House of Representatives.

MICHIGAN—Special elections in January and April will fill two vacant seats in the state House of Representatives after two lawmakers were elected in local mayoral races this month.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for a special primary election for both seats on Jan. 30, 2024, with a general election on April 15, 2024.

The special elections will decide who fills the remaining legislative terms of state Reps. Lori Stone (D-Warren), who previously represented Michigan’s 13th House District before being elected as the mayor of Warren this month, and Kevin Coleman (D-Westland), who previously represented the 25th House District before he was elected as the mayor of Westland.

“The Michigan Legislature had one of the most productive sessions in Michigan history thanks to Michiganders who elected leaders, like state representatives Coleman and Stone, to get things done on the issues that make a real difference in people’s lives,” Whitmer said. “As we look ahead to 2024, these special elections will ensure that Michiganders in the 13th and 25th districts have representation in Lansing working for them as soon as possible.”

When Stone and Coleman were elected in their mayoral races and left office this month, it caused Democratic lawmakers to—at least temporarily—lose majority control of the state House of Representatives. The special election requested for April will break that 54-54 deadlock.

Democratic lawmakers have been able to push through a number of key pieces of legislation in Michigan since they flipped both chambers of the Legislature while also holding onto the governor’s office in last year’s midterm elections. And while they’ll still control the agenda when session resumes next year, Democrats will not have a voting advantage until the tie is broken.

Voters in both districts have historically favored Democrats. The rest of the Michigan House of Representatives will be up for election in next year’s November general election.

The last day for candidates to file to run in the special election will be set Nov. 27, 2023.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

READ MORE: Mayoral races temporarily disrupt Democrats’ full control of government

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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