By Jonathan Oosting, The Detroit News
Detroit — Michigan Republicans will retain majorities in the Michigan House and Senate despite losing seats in Tuesday's election, preventing a major blue wave and setting the stage for a divided government that will test Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer.
The GOP had a 22-16 edge in the Senate and a 58-52 advantage in the House, according to unofficial results. Democrats ended up adding five seats in the Senate — their biggest pickup since 1974 — and gaining five seats in the House.
Republicans have controlled the Senate since 1984, but a mass exodus caused by term limits and evolving dynamics in Oakland County fueled Democratic hopes of picking up the nine seats needed to win a majority.
Senate pickups included the 7th District, where Democrat Dayna Polehanki of Livonia defeated Republican state Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, and the 20th Senate District where former Rep. Sean McCann of Kalamazoo unseated incumbent Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage.
Democrats also gained Senate seats in Oakland County's 13th District, where challenger Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak defeated incumbent Sen. Marty Knollenberg of Troy, the 12th District where Rosemary Bayer of Beverly Hills beat GOP Rep. Mike McCready of Bloomfield Township and the 29th District, where Rep. Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids thwarted Rep. Chris Afendoulis of Grand Rapids Township,
Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. of East Lansing, who led the Democratic campaign efforts, said a five-seat pickup would be the largest gain for the caucus since 1974. "Historically speaking, it would be hard to call this a loss," Hertel said. "This is historic movement in the chamber."