Democrats smashed the ‘red wave’ in Michigan, winning all statewide offices and the state Legislature

The party has a trifecta in state government for the first time in nearly 40 years

click to enlarge Detroiters vote in the midterm elections in Detroit. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Detroiters vote in the midterm elections in Detroit.

The red wave wasn’t even a ripple in Michigan.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, all Democrats, won second terms in Tuesday’s election, defeating their far-right conspiracy theorist challengers.

And for the first time in 38 years, Democrats have gained control of the state House and Senate.

The historic victory enables Democrats to pursue their agenda of equal rights, gun control, police reform, the environment, and funding for public schools, mental heath, and impoverished communities — issues that have long been rejected by Republicans in the Legislature.

“Our voices were heard,” Whitmer told a cheering crowd in Detroit on Tuesday night.

Whitmer said voters set Michigan on a “course that is focused on the future, that is focused on solving problems, not demonizing others, that is focused on ensuring that Michigan is the place to build your life, to raise your family, and to make a great existence here.”

Whitmer also struck a bipartisan tone.

“We will always work with anyone who wants to solve a problem because there is nothing more important than the people of this state to us — all of the people of this state,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer and other Democrats dominated in the state’s six largest counties — Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent, Genesee, and Washtenaw.

Democrats were worried about Macomb County, where voters overwhelmingly cast ballots for former President Donald Trump in the past two presidential elections.

In Kent County, once a longtime Republican stronghold, Whitmer also won.

“In this election, democracy was on the ballot,” Benson said during her victory speech in Detroit. “Our right to vote was on the ballot. And tonight, democracy won here in Michigan.”

Democrats seized control of the state Senate for the first time in 38 years.

“For more than a generation, Senate Republicans have held the veto power on state government, holding back solutions on real problems in Michigan,” state Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, said Wednesday. “Tonight, voters affirmed that it is time for a new majority. Together, we will put an end to the tired business as usual in the Legislature and start a new chapter of bold leadership.”

Moss added, “We ran a campaign on the issues that actually matter to the people in our state: reducing gun violence, protecting bodily autonomy, and securing voting rights for all Michiganders. Republicans instead doubled down on homophobia and transphobia and found their out-of-whack priorities soundly rejected by voters. This majority is a victory for everyone.”

Democrats took back the state House for the first time in 12 years, winning most of the 14 key battleground districts in Kent, Macomb, and Livingston counties, as well as Traverse City and downriver.

“The People of Michigan have spoken and their House of Representatives will once again be about the work of the people,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township. “Michigan’s future will be built on an economy that competes and wins on the global stage, a world-class public education system, and a focus on the liberties and freedoms of all Michiganders — from the voting booth to the doctors office. The incoming Democratic majority represents the people of the state of Michigan and reflects their values, and will work with them to craft a future in this state where working families, small businesses, and local communities are supported.”

State Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, said voters are “ready for new leadership in the legislature, full stop.”

“Democrats have stood with the people of Michigan to fight for their values and we will continue our mission toward solving the issues affecting their pocketbooks,” Tate said. “The people have spoken and they have turned to the Democrats to lead this state — in the Governor’s office and now both chambers of the legislature. I look forward to the road ahead for the state of Michigan, the bright and robust future we can forge with a unified government, and living up to our responsibility to the residents of this state.”

Coming soon: Metro Times Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting Detroit stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Politics & Elections articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.