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State house leader expects unhappy Sanders supporters will vote for other Democrats

Jul 27, 2016

A top state official does not expect divisions over the Democratic Party’s pick for president will affect the party’s chances of winning control of the state house in November.

This could be a pivotal year for the Michigan legislature and who controls the lower chamber. But this is also a presidential election year, with most of the attention focusing on what’s at the top of the ballot.

Many voters, especially those who backed Bernie Sanders in Michigan’s Democratic primary (which Sanders won), are saying they can’t vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Some voters are eyeing third party candidates, like the Green Party’s Jill Stein or the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson.

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel expects Bernie Sanders supporters will vote for Democrats in state house races, even if they don’t vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

“So we’re going to be on offense,” says Greimel. “We’re going to be targeting 15 to 20 Republican held seats.  We only need to win 9 of them to flip the house and change the trajectory of our state.”

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter agrees with the number of competitive races this fall, but he’s confident the GOP will retain its majority.