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It’s widely assumed in political circles that Michigan will lose one congressional seat following the 2020 federal census, going from 14 representatives to 13, despite Michigan’s population finally turning a corner and gaining almost 29,000 residents as of July 2017. The question that remains is which congressional seat will be eliminated? “I think it depends on who will be drawing the line,” said political consultant Dennis Darnoi. “It’s a virtual certainty we’ll lose one – which one will depend on the outcome of the 2018 election,” concurred Democratic consultant Joe DiSano. “If the Democrats get inroads, which is a possibility across the state, it’s completely up to negotiations. If the Republicans remain in control, they’ll either eliminate Sandy Levin’s seat (MI-9), or throw whoever wins that seat into Brenda Lawrence’s district (MI-14). They could also go after Dan Kildee (MI-5), and isolate Flint with a bunch of Republicans all around.” Danoi agrees. “If the Republicans have the pen, they’ll probably throw the 9th in with Lawrence’s district, or MI-5, Kildee’s seat, because there’s a couple of ways to draw Kildee out. You could carve it up into MI-1 (with northern Michigan); with MI-14; and with MI-10 (Rep. Paul Mitchell’s seat, covering Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair counties and part of Macomb).” However, Danoi said, if Democrats get the governor’s mansion, and with it veto power, along with the state House, “they’re going after (Mike) Bishop’s seat, MI-8, or maybe the open MI-11, currently David Trott’s seat.” Danoi said the easiest, and more vulnerable, would be Bishop’s, because Democrats could break the barrier of Genesee County by going down to include Pontiac and Rochester, which would lean Democratic. “The population of Oxford and Addison isn’t great, and the district would be Dem,” he noted. If they target Trott’s seat, they would likely push into Debbie Dingell’s seat (MI-12) or MI-13, formerly John Conyers’ seat, both strong Democratic bastions. “You can’t touch Lawrence or Conyers seats because they’re protected by the Voting Rights Act,” Darnoi explained. Debbie Dingell is too high profile to target for Republicans, DiSano said. “She maintains great relationships on both sides of the aisle,” he said. But if another 146,000 folks move into the state in the next two years, we could keep everyone.


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