On Sept. 14, Zachary Gorchow, executive editor and publisher of Gongwer News Service Michigan, joined the MICHauto Advocacy Committee meeting to share valuable insight and his predictions regarding the 2022 Michigan midterm elections.
Gorchow began his presentation by describing this midterm election season as “unusual and interesting” – terms he said he wouldn’t have used at the beginning of 2022.
Unique Factors for Democratic Party Might Help Even the Scale, But Not Tip It
Historically, the Michigan Republican Party is incredibly successful during midterms because of a few factors, especially the generally low turnouts of Democratic and other left-leaning voters. But Gorchow said in these past few months, some unique factors may slightly change the tone, including the incumbent political alignments, the state’s redistricting, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Further, Gorchow believes social issues, especially the Dobbs decision, will also help get the Democratic Party “out of that malaise” and increase their voter turnout rate.
However, he still believes these specific indications will only create a much more “neutral environment” rather than a complete Republican sweep like in years past.
Whitmer is a Likely Win in Gubernatorial Race
Gorchow said Gov. Whitmer has an advantage because of how she’s “repositioned herself back in the middle, after being a central-left leaning position” when she first got elected.
Gorchow detailed a “tough” season for the Michigan Republican Party, such as their struggle to pick a strong gubernatorial candidate before landing on Tudor Dixon this summer. Further, he said Dixon seems to be the least funded candidate within the twenty years he’s been involved with Gongwer, plus there hasn’t been any TV campaigning for her.
Therefore, Gorchow believes Whitmer will take the victory this November—not by any landslide, but “it doesn’t look like she’ll need to sweat it out.”
Democrats Have Marginal Lead in the Senate
Transitioning the conversation to Michigan Senate, Gorchow again mentioned how much Michigan is a “jump ball for control” because of the redistricting, which gives both parties a guaranteed 15 seats each, with eight seats up for grabs.
According to Gorchow, Democrats currently have a slight advantage with 19 seats and need at least two more seats to solidify their majority. Republicans are not far behind, however, as they need at least three seats to take control.
He suggested Republicans should focus on its candidates in Bay City, Macomb, Oakland, and Saginaw counties the most to increase their majority.
Republicans Have Slight Advantage in the House
The redistricting of Michigan’s House also created a very competitive playing field for the parties, who are both looking to be the 56-seat majority. According to Gorchow, Republicans currently have the advantage at 46.
But because he says 29 seats are genuinely undecided, there’s an opportunity for Democrats to catch up if Republicans aren’t careful.
Gorchow believes the Democratic Party will need to primarily focus on their candidates in Kent, Oakland, Macomb, and southern Wayne counties to gain the 19 seats they need for a majority.
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