Oakland County’s politics are changing. Once a longtime Republican stronghold, a majority of voters in the region supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020. Between that time, county voters have been supporting Gretchen Whitmer for governor.
But lately things have been changing in the Detroit suburb. Democrats now represent a majority of the county’s commissioners, an expanded public transit millage is on the ballot and Rep. Hayley Stevens defeated Rep. Andy Levin in the 11th Congressional District’s Democratic primary.
“That area — Oakland, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Troy and a bit of Clawson — are going to have a huge impact on the shape of the state legislature.” — Dennis Darnoi, political consultant.
Listen: What different voting blocs look like in Oakland County.
Dennis Darnoi is a Republican political consultant who tracks voter data. He says the party that wins control of Michigan house districts 54, 55 and 56 will help determine which party controls the state house in general.
“That area — Oakland, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Troy and a bit of Clawson — are going to have a huge impact on the shape of the state legislature,” says Darnoi.
Nancy Quarles is a chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party and former Oakland County commissioner. She says Congresswoman Hayley Stevens will likely beat her Republican challenger in the 11th Congressional District.
“It’s going to be very difficult, from my perspective,” says Quarles, “for her not to move ahead in her next term because she makes herself available, she makes herself available to everyone who lives in her district.”