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Shake-ups in the Legislature, contentious races and who'll have the final say on wolf hunting

Oct 29, 2014

A wolf rests in the snow. Next week, voters will weigh-in on whether Michigan wolf hunting laws should stay in place. The outcome could be blocked by a law the legislature approved last summer.
Credit USFWS Midwest

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss what could happen to the state Legislature after the election, possible surprises in congressional races and the wolf hunting proposal votes which may not matter.


State Legislature

Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives currently have 59 seats over the 51 controlled by Democrats.

While it doesn’t seem likely Republicans will lose that majority after the election, Lessenberry said several Tea Party candidates could cause some shake-ups.

“These folks are likely to win legislative seats, and they’re going to be very adamant about trying to move the House leadership far to the right,” he said. “This could be a real game changer, and if Gov. Snyder is re-elected, a real thorn in his side as well as the Democrats’.”

The Tea Party candidates running for legislative seats are Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat and Gary Glenn.

Congressional races

There may be some surprises in store for Congress as the numbers roll in next Tuesday evening.

Lessenberry said there are several congressional races that initially didn’t look like much of a fight, but now he’s watching them closely.

One of those races is in the 11th District, where incumbent Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is running on a write-in campaign against Republican David Trott.

Trott defeated Bentivolio in the election primary.

“(Bentivolio) would be very happy if he could defeat David Trott, whether he wins or whether the Democrat wins,” Lessenberry said. “Any vote he gets is a vote taken away from Trott.“

Wolf-hunting proposal

Next week, voters will weigh-in on two statewide ballot proposals which ask if laws protecting wolf hunting in Michigan should stay in place.

However, there’s a question of whether their say will matter.

Last August, the Legislature approved a new law which has the power to keep current wolf-hunting laws in place, regardless of what voters decide.

Lessenberry said the issue will likely end up in court, where he said voters could still make a difference.     

Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom