Michigan Politics Could Get A Lot of National Attention in 2018

Rick Pluta/MPRN

Rick Pluta, state Capitol bureau chief at the Michigan Public Radio Network

It’s 2018 — and that means it’s an election year.

It’s already shaping up to be an especially eventful year in politics here in Michigan.

Essentially all of state government is up for election.

We’ll elect a new governor, a new attorney general, and a new secretary of state. The entire state Legislature is up for election, as are all of our U.S. Representatives. And we have a U.S. Senate seat up for a statewide vote.

That doesn’t even take into account some of the ballot proposals voters could decide in November, including a major overhaul of the way we draw congressional and legislative lines here in Michigan, as well as a proposal to legalize marijuana.

Detroit Today producer Jake Neher — filling in while host Stephen Henderson is on vacation — speaks with Rick Pluta, state Capitol bureau chief at the Michigan Public Radio Network about what’s coming up in Michigan this year.

We are going to have waves of people leaving the state House and the state Senate,” he says. “[With] the political uncertainty that exists in the age of Trump, it’s really impossible to predict what will happen and what the ramifications of that will be going forward.”

Click here to listen to a breakdown of the major races in Michigan this year

Pluta says with so many new seats open, there’s no telling which way Michiganders will vote and what the fallout will be. But can we use Michigan’s past leanings as a guide for what to expect this November?

Michigan was considered — at least presidentially and for federal offices — to be a reliably blue state and what we’ve found is that we’re more of a purple state. We know that a Republican or a Democrat can win statewide in Michigan.”

Neher points out that with Republican control of so much of state and federal government, the Democrats have become the resistance party. This could also impact upcoming elections.

In the midterm elections, the resistance party is a good place to be because… voters are very likely to vote against whatever they see happening in Washington,” says Pluta. ”[But] Democrats have been losing statewide elections in Michigan because the typical democratic voters are largely uninspired to turn out… There is a saying in democratic politics, which is both ironic and true, is that when Democrats vote, Democrats win. And that is true in Michigan.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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Detroit Today

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