Democrats bet on women in quest to flip Michigan Legislature

By Jonathan Oosting, The Detroit News

Democrats are targeting GOP seats from Grand Rapids, to Kalamazoo to the Upper Peninsula. But Oakland County and Western Wayne are also "critical" areas, said Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. of East Lansing, campaign chairman for Senate Democrats.

"What we're seeing is that especially among women, there's been a dramatic shift towards our candidates," he said. "I think a lot of it has to do with Trump, but another part has to do with the fact that we've recruited strong female candidates in those areas."

Those dynamics are evident in the 13th state Senate District, where both parties are spending heavily as Democratic challenger Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak takes on incumbent Sen. Marty Knollenberg of Troy, and in the 12th District, where Republican state Rep.Mike McCready of Birmingham is running against Democrat Rosemary Bayer in a district currently held by state Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion.

"There are more seats in play (for Democrats) than there ever have been," Hertel said. "The seats were gerrymandered, but they were drawn in a way to try to keep a super-majority, so a lot of seats that lean R in a good Democratic years could go our way."

The most likely scenario for Democrats is picking up about five seats and chipping away at the GOP edge, Hertel said, "but if turnout is great and people vote, I think that certainly a majority is possible."

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