Two Democratic state representatives won their respective mayoral bids in their southeastern Michigan cities in Tuesday’s general election, subsequently evening out the number of Democratic and Republican seats in the state House of Representatives.
In Warren, Rep. Lori Stone beat out the city’s human resources director, George Dimas, with 53% of the vote. Meanwhile, 59% of voters in Westland chose Rep. Kevin Coleman over the city’s interim mayor, Mike Londeau.
The election results mean the House will have a 54-54 split going into 2024, temporarily stymieing Michigan’s Democratic trifecta. Since gaining majorities in the House and Senate this year, Democrats have been able to pass laws focused on women’s rights, gun safety, and tax breaks for seniors.
House Speaker Joe Tate, a Democrat from Detroit, told MLive before the polls closed Tuesday night that he doesn’t expect their legislative agenda to be impacted once Stone and Coleman resign; Tate will remain speaker after House rules were changed to allow a new speaker election only if there is a 55-55 split.
“We’re still going to be Democrats, we’ll still be setting the agenda for the chamber and moving it along,” he said. “Will there still be kind of some small dynamic, different, things that we have to consider? Yeah, that’s part of it.”
It’s unclear at the moment when the vacancies will be filled, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer can call special elections to fill a vacant office or wait until the November election next year.
The lawmakers are not expected to officially resign from their House seats until the local elections are certified later this month and they’re officially sworn in to their new positions.
Before the pair depart the chamber, Democrats are expected to pass a number of bills prior to what could be the last session day of the year on Thursday. Democrats are in a time crunch to ensure legislation to move up the state’s presidential primary goes into effect before February. Since it didn’t receive the two-thirds vote necessary to go into immediate effect when Whitmer signed it earlier this year, the law won’t become official until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns