LANSING, Mich. — For the first time, Michigan has citizen-made state House and Senate maps that could shift the current balance of power in the Legislature.
With the newly-drawn districts, Democrats in Michigan could feasibly take the majority in the state Senate, which hasn't happened in nearly 40 years.
The new "Linden" map adopted by the state redistricting commission Tuesday could result in 20 of the 38 Senate seats being blue, according to data from the 2020 election. Right now, Republicans hold 22 seats in the majority.
The map also comes with some changes here in West Michigan. Grand Rapids is now split in half, with the Heartside district, Eastown and the southeast side in a Democratic-favored 29th district.
Incumbent Democratic state Senator Winnie Brinks (D-East Grand Rapids) lives in the district and is not term limited.
The top half and Westside of Grand Rapids, from the Medical Mile up, is part of the new 30th District , which. stretches north of Grand Rapids and west to parts of Ottawa County. That seat favors Republicans and is open in 2022.
The Senate map also puts incumbents in the same district in a couple areas, like in the new 33rd district, a Republican-leaning seat, which includes Six Lakes and Newaygo, where Republican state Sen. Rick Outman and Sen. Jon Bumstead live respectively.
"The public consistently and have indicated that the Liden map was superior to the others," says Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) Commissioner Douglas Clark. "And as myself and some of the other commissioners did, we took the approach that we're going to listen to the public, and we're gonna do what — as best as we can do — what's best for the public. And so that's why I voted the way I did."
Moving towards the new House map, commissioners approved the 110-seat "hickory map" Tuesday, which shows a slight advantage for Republicans to hold the majority of seats, according to the Associated Press.
The map includes whole new districts, like the 38th, which spans the southwest lakeshore from Saugatuck to the Indiana border. That district leans slightly Democratically.
It also sets up for incumbents to face each other in a few districts.
(A previous version of this report stated incumbent GOP State Reps. Bryan Posthumus (R-Kent County) and Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes) were drawn together in the new 91st district, a Republican-favored one, but Posthumus informed FOX 17 he moved to Cannon Township earlier this year. Posthumus will live in the new 90th district, which will be open.)
While maps have been approved this is not the end of the process. It's likely they face some sort of litigation, which the state Republican party hinted at Tuesday. Communications Director Gustavo Portela saying in a statement, "We are evaluating all options to take steps necessary to defend the voices silenced by this commission."
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