Michigan Republican lawmaker's arrest could have consequences for party heading into election

In the wake of salacious allegations that a Republican lawmaker in the Michigan legislature was arrested after police responded to reports of a man wielding a gun in Lansing early Thursday morning, some are considering the political fallout.

That includes both in Rep. Neil Friske's district in northern Michigan, as well as the larger battle for state House seats that will be up for grabs in the 2024 general election. 

"The question is, is it bad or worse? There is no good news for house Republicans," said Adrian Hemond.

As the story about Friske's arrest buzzed around the Michigan House floor, many considered the impacts. With control of the chamber up for grabs this November, one question moves toward whether the lawmaker's seat in Charlevoix and Emmet counties could be in contention.

That's unlikely, due to the seat being 65% Republican. But it does make the lawmaker's position shaky ahead of a competitive Primary race in August.

But a more troubling problem for the state GOP is how Democrats use the issue against the party as a whole - especially, in districts where they have a shot at flipping the seat, Hemond said.

"They are going to go with some broad messaging on how house Republicans are not to be trusted around issues of women and sex. Obviously they're going to try to tie it into the whole choice argument as well," said Hemond.

They may even lean into the gun violence issue.

According to Lansing police, officers were dispatched to the 2100 block of Forest Rd for a report of a male with a gun, as well as possible shots that were fired. After arriving, they made contact with all parties involved. After that, they took Friske into custody for a "felony-level offense," police said in a statement.

More details are expected Friday when charging documents are released and Friske is arraigned in court. 

Ironically, the conservative lawmaker is in the seat once held by former House GOP Speaker Lee Chatfield who has his own problems with the law.