Trump’s 10,000-vote victory in Michigan in 2016 broke a streak of Democratic victories in presidential elections back to 1992.

On the state level, though, Democrats have long ceded power to Republicans. Republicans have controlled the State Senate since 1990, and seen larger gains in recent years. In 2010, Republicans gained 5 seats, controlling the Senate 26 to 11. In 2014, they gained another seat and currently control the Senate 27 to 10. Democrats have only controlled the Michigan State House for 6 of the last 26 years. Republicans currently hold a 63 to 47 majority there. Michigan is a Republican trifecta state, with Republicans controlling the Governorship and both houses of the state legislature. This year, however, there are meaningful opportunities for Democrats to win back power.

The Opportunity

To take back the majority, Democrats need to pick up 9 seats in the State Senate, and 9 seats in the State House. This year, Democrats have the opportunity to win back both chambers.

EveryDistrict’s Legislative District Index (LDI) ranks state legislative districts on a scale from 100 to -100, using statewide elections data. Districts with a score of 100 would vote for statewide Democratic candidates by 100 points (with the Democratic candidate receiving 100% of the vote); districts with a score of -100 would vote for statewide Republican candidates by 100 points (with the Republican candidate receiving 100% of the vote).

EveryDistrict divides winnable districts into three categories: Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III. Tier I districts lean Democratic but are held by a Republican state legislator. Tier II districts lean slightly Republican, with a range of 0 up to -5. Tier III districts lean slightly more Republican, with a range of -5 up to -10. For more information about EveryDistrict’s LDI, please click here.

In the State Senate there are 5 seats that lean Democratic (Tier I): Senate Districts 7, 13, 20, 29, and 32. There are another three seats that lean slightly Republican (Tier II): Senate Districts 12, 15, and 34. Then, there are another three Tier III seats: Senate Districts 10, 24, and 38.

Districts 7, 10, 12, 13, and 15 are all in the Detroit area, while the other districts are spread throughout the state. District 20 includes Kalamazoo, District 24 has areas around Lansing, while District 29 centers on Grand Rapids. District 32 includes Saginaw; District 34, Muskegan; and District 38 includes the western Upper Peninsula.

In the State House, there are three seats that lean Democratic (Tier I): House Districts 17, 62, and 71. There is one seat in the Tier II category, House District 99, and 9 seats in the Tier III category: House Districts 24, 39, 40, 56, 61, 66, 85, 91, and 101.

Districts 17, 24, 34, 40, and 56 are all in the Detroit area. District 61 includes Kalamazoo, District 71 has areas west of Lansing, and District 62 includes Battle Creek. District 91 includes Muskegan; District 99 includes Mount Pleasant, home of Central Michigan University; District 85 stretches into Owosso; and Districts 66 and 101 are along different portions of the Lake Michigan coastline.

What’s At Stake

Republican majorities in the legislature have worked to implement a conservative agenda. “Defending the second amendment” was one of the priorities for House Republicans in the 2017-2018 legislative session, and the Republican controlled legislature proposed a range of bills to loosen gun safety laws.

In 2012, the Republican legislature passed a strict voter ID law that would have required a photo ID for absentee voting and required voters to affirm their US citizenship before receiving ballots. Thankfully, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the legislation.

Michigan Republicans have worked to undermine climate science at every turn. Michigan was one of 24 states to join a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Republicans have also proposed eliminating references to climate change in school curriculum and replacing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision-making authority with private-sector-based panels of industry representatives.


EveryDistrict endorses candidates in competitive districts that are committed to moving their communities forward, have strong connections to their districts, and have a campaign strategy in place to win. Below are the candidates we’ve endorsed so far and that you can support by donating or becoming a fundraising champion today.