LANSING (AP) — As midterm elections draw national attention to Michigan, some wonder if the battleground state that helped put Donald Trump in the Oval Office two years ago will continue its Republican-trifecta streak.
Michigan’s state government has been single-party for the last eight years, with Republicans controlling the governor’s seat, state Senate and state House. Democrats hope 2018 will be the year that trifecta shatters.
From the Upper Peninsula to southeast Michigan, Democrats are trying to flip the 63-47 GOP majority in the state House and pierce the state Senate’s 27-11 supermajority. Their reasons for optimism include an open governor’s seat to spur turnout, a purported “blue wave” of liberal enthusiasm, a political trend of the minority party enjoying a bump in midterm years and a number of term-limited Republicans leaving office — 11 in the state House and 19 in the Senate.
Democratic candidates are mostly sticking to kitchen-table issues and attacking Republicans for bad roads, declining school performance and ongoing environmental public health scares ever since the lead contamination in Flint’s water supply.
But the GOP’s much heftier war chest coupled with a largely positive economic bounce-back under Gov. Rick Snyder means that Democrats have their work cut out for them. The Republicans will remind voters of the Michigan turnaround from where it was a decade ago during the Great Recession. Democrats have also historically been worse at voter turnout and saw many stronghold voters for Barack Obama stay home in 2016.
Lastly, these races are extra consequential because in Michigan, state lawmakers are in charge of outlining boundaries once a decade for both congressional and legislative districts. Michigan’s GOP-drawn map heavily boosted Republicans two years ago.
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