Democrats Regain Full Michigan House With Two Special Election Wins

Mai Xiong and Peter Herzberg were favored in their heavily Democrat-leaning districts.

After special elections on Tuesday, April 16, Michigan Democrats have officially regained control of the state House of Representatives. The winning of two open seats by Democrats potentially ends months of legislative gridlock. The seats were previously vacated, leading to an even split in the chamber among the parties.

Democrats once again officially control the entire Michigan state government. Mai Xiong was victorious in the 13th District, covering Warren and part of Detroit, while Peter Herzberg triumphed in the 25th District, encompassing Wayne and Westland.

Both candidates were favored in their heavily Democrat-leaning districts, with Ms. Xiong securing 65 percent of the vote against her Republican challenger, while Mr. Herzberg secured 60 percent of the vote against his Republican challenger, according to unofficial election results.

The restoration of a Democrat majority in the state House carries implications for legislative priorities and governance. With Xiong and Herzberg’s wins, Democrats regain the ability to advance their agenda.

Democratic Party Agenda

As of 2022, Democrats controlled both houses of the state’s legislative bodies for the first time in almost 40 years, securing unified government control with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also winning reelection that year.

The chamber has been locked in a 54-54 partisan split since two Democrat seats were vacated as they were elected in mayoral elections, according to the Associated Press (AP). This split slowed down legislative action, according to the AP, as Republicans unsuccessfully sought a coalition agreement.

Since the House was deadlocked, Republicans had tried to pass bipartisan “government transparency” legislation, opening up the legislature and governor to public records requests, according to the AP.

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The two elected officials, who won their primaries in January, will be sworn in quickly to fill their partial terms through the end of the year.

“I am incredibly humbled for the overwhelming support of the voters of the 13th House District, who have chosen me to represent our community as the next State Representative,” Ms. Xiong said in a post on social media platform X. “Together with your continued support and collaboration, I am confident that we can make meaningful progress toward a more equitable and prosperous future for all.”

Mr. Herzberg thanked his supporters in a post on Facebook, saying he was ready to hit the ground running.

“The new majority gives room for Democrats to move forward several pieces of legislation regarding labor, healthcare and so much more that effects [sic] working families,” he said in the post. “I am excited to be part of the progress we will make this year and deliver real and clear results for District 25!”

Upcoming Challenges and Opportunities

As attention shifts to governing, lawmakers will face pressing issues, including the crafting of a state budget.

Gov. Whitmer’s proposed budget aims to prioritize education and affordability, with initiatives such as free community college for high school graduates and universal preschool for 4-year-olds.

Additionally, discussions on expanding hate crime laws and enhancing school safety measures are expected to gain momentum.

Ms. Whitmer’s last budget took heat from Republicans over a program quietly directing state funds to illegal immigrants to help with their rent expenses.

According to state Republican leaders, the governor’s 2024 budget funded the Newcomer Rental Subsidy (NRS) program. They claim this program was buried in budget appropriations for a new division called the Office of Global Michigan (OGM), in partnership with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

Reactions

The Democratic Party’s state legislature campaign arm, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), praised the elections of the two Democrats.

“Democrats just held control of the Michigan House after winning two critical special elections tonight,” the DLCC posted on X. “This means the state’s Dem trifecta has been protected, and will be able to continue making progress for their constituents.”

Before the election, the organization said their wins would allow Democrats to continue to take actions they have taken with trifecta leadership, such as passing red flag laws, eliminating asset tests for food assistance, expanding Medicaid, and passing abortion protections.

DLCC communications director Abhi Rahman said the election was a “referendum” on the Democrat trifecta in government, noting Michigan “will remain a top priority as we head into November and the DLCC builds Democratic state power across the country.”

All of the Michigan House will be up for reelection later this year and the swing state will also be essential to the presidential election.

The Republican Party in Michigan has faced issues of infighting in the past several months, with the national party jumping in to confirm the state party’s leadership after the former chair was removed earlier this year. Dueling factions of the party were fighting to control the state party, according to the AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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