2022 Midterm Election Bucks Trends, Tees Up a Quiet Lame Duck

Nov. 10, 2022 - In the first election since independent redistricting of all Michigan state and federal districts was finalized, democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Attorney General Dana Nessel were reelected for their second term, and Democrats won enough races to take control of both the Michigan House and Senate. When the new legislative cycle begins in January, Democrats will hold a two-vote majority in both chambers, with a 20-18 split in the Senate and 56-54 divide in the House. This is the first time since the 1982 election in Michigan that Democrats will have the majority across all branches of state government. This outcome bucks traditional trends, as midterm elections have historically favored the party not in the White House.

The current Legislature then met on Nov. 10, when incoming leaders were voted in by their caucus. Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) was chosen as the state’s first-ever female Senate Majority Leader, and Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Porter Township) will be the chamber’s Minority Leader. In the House, Rep. Joe Tate (R-Detroit) will become the first African American to serve as Speaker in Michigan’s history, and Rep. Matt Hall (R-Coldwater) will serve as Minority Leader. New committee assignments are yet to be determined.
Legislators are now on a two-week Thanksgiving break until Nov. 29, when they will return to Lansing for lame duck. While the election’s true effect on the upcoming lame duck session and the remaining budget surplus of over $6 billion is unknown at present, expectations are that democrats will wait to move priorities until they take control of the government in the new legislative term.