Michigan political musical chairs in full motion as Detroit Rep. Rashida Tlaib announces run for 12th District

With the census counted, new Michigan political maps drawn - at least for now - the game of political musical chairs among legislative districts is afoot in the state. 

District 14 Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Detroit, announced Tuesday night she would be stepping down from her seat. Meanwhile, former state House Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo posted on Facebook a photo declaring her intention to run for Congress.

Then Tuesday morning, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, posted on Twitter she too was running for Congress - which could mean tens of thousands of new constituents. 

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"After much deliberation with my family, residents, and my team, I am excited to announce that I will be running for re-election in what will now be Michigan's 12th Congressional District."

"The new 12th Congressional District contains nearly two-thirds of the people I currently serve. I'm excited to continue to fight for our residents and engage with new neighbors in Wayne and Oakland Counties."

According to the new political maps drawn by the redistricting commission, the 12th District will include western portions of Detroit and Wayne County, and Southfield in Oakland County.

Currently, the 12th district, held by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, spans Ann Arbor to Dearborn to Detroit. The 12th district's new boundaries, which were approved by the commission in late December 2021, now includes most of the western Wayne County's communities like Livonia, Westland, Garden City, and Inkster. 

Dingell said last week she plans to run for the newly-drawn 6th District, despite her hometown of Dearborn not being included in its boundaries. 

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Michigan is losing one seat in the House of Representatives following a census report that reported it didn't grow fast enough to maintain a 14th seat. 

Lawrence, who has held her seat since 2013, plans to retire at the end of her term this year. 

"This year marks my 30th year in elected public service, and I've had the good fortune of serving Michiganders on the local and national level," she said on Twitter. "After reflecting on my journey & having conversations with my family, I'm announcing that I will not be seeking re-election to Congress."

In an interview last night, she attributed the decision to letting the next generation of leaders step up to run the country.

Tliab, who was elected to her second term in Congress in 2020, first took over the district in 2018 following the departure of Rep. John Conyers. She's since made a name for herself as a progressive stalwart. 

But her leaving the 13th District means a new figure will be representing its residents. Gay-Dagnogo, who has held positions in the Michigan legislature and on the Detroit school board could fill that seat. 

She recently aligned herself with a lawsuit against the redistricting commissions and its newly drawn maps, alleging they violate the voting rights act. 

"I'm all the way in!" she wrote on Facebook Tuesday night, referring to a run for Congress.