LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - Special elections to fill two vacant seats in the Michigan state House have been scheduled for April 2024.
In a letter sent to the secretary of state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for special primary elections and special elections in seats that include Warren in Macomb County and Westland in Wayne County.
Both seats were held by Democrats and gave them a slim majority in the chamber this term. After both won their subsequent races for mayor in the previous election held in November, it ended the party's majority. Democrats ended the legislative term a month early this year, a move decried by Republicans who claimed was about "maintaining power."
The special primary election will be held on Jan. 30, 2024 and the special election is scheduled for April 16. The final date for candidates to file to run is Nov. 27.
The seats are for the 13th and 25th Districts in the Michigan House of Representatives. Reps. Lori Stone and Kevin Coleman previously held the seats.
"After Democrats’ two-month Christmas vacation, I hope they’ll come back to work in January and come to the table so we can deliver the results Michiganders deserve," House Republican Leader Matt Hall said at the time.
At least one Republican member of the House criticized Whitmer's call for special elections as "accelerated and unnecessary."
"What is really behind this time frame? Democracy? Accessibility? Restoring voter confidence? Voter representation at the Capitol? NOPE – just more politics and confusion that disenfranchises voters and places added stress on local clerks and poll workers," said Rep. Ann Bollin, (R-Brighton Township).
Bollin mulled the scheduling rush was to boost the time that Democrats could operate within a majority in the House.
"When three Republican House seats were vacant in late 2021, the governor scheduled those special elections for March and May of 2022. Why the sudden rush to fill the latest vacancies?" she asked in a release.
With issues like gun safety, reproductive rights, and environmental laws requiring every vote from Democrats in 2023, the party likely won't be able to pass any legislation it has campaigned on without either a majority or assistance from the GOP - which is unlikely.