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Top 15 House Seats Most Likely To Flip

October 23, 2018

It’s two weeks until Election Day and, as in past elections, the field seems to be spreading. Democrats are anxious to hit on a race that’s going to help get them the nine seats needed to take the majority. Republicans are nervous they’re going to be caught napping on a seat they should win handily.

The uncertainty in Oakland County has both sides looking at the Waterford-based 43rd. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer has done videos for former Linden Mayor David Lossing in the 51st and solar energy company owner Joey Andrews in the 79th.

Is there activity in the Saginaw County-based 94th? Could an anti-Republican wave in Oakland County wipe out Rep. Michael Webber (R-Rochester) in the 45th?

Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy, the same utility-driven group that knocked off state Senate candidate Gary Glenn this August, has opened up its massive wallet to go after wife Annette Glenn, who is looking to succeed her hubby in the Midland-based 98th House District.

Republicans are spending money in the 17th House District to help Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe). The Building Trades are taking to the air to batter the freshman for not being four-square with them on the anti-prevailing wage vote. But with President Donald Trump arguably more popular in Monroe County than Macomb County, Michelle LaVoy has a tough road. In all, $374,153 has been spent here, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN), the second-most of all state House districts.

All the while, neither side has closed the book on the open 25th House District, where Democrat Nate Shannon, a Sterling Heights councilmember, has not put away Republican Jazmine Early The Democrats recently sent out an attack press release on her, while Republicans have put some late spending on that race.

The internal polling from both sides seems wildly different. Is the surge in absentee ballots those suddenly politically activated Trump Republicans? Is this the Blue Wave?

It’s fair to say both sides are cautiously optimistic as we head into our updated Top 15 seats most likely to flip. 

1. 62nd District (R to D) — *1 – The only question here is whether Democrats will continue spending to prop up Democrat Jim Haadsma or if they feel confident enough to pull out and put their resources elsewhere.

2. 20th District (R to D) — *2 – It’s not just Rep. Jeff Noble (R-Plymouth). A surge in activity among absentee voters is being seen throughout Western Wayne County that could impact Rep. Laura Cox’s 7th Senate District run and determine who wins the 11th Congressional race. Republicans aren’t giving up on the pastor, though, with close to $200,000 in TV being spent here, according to the MCFN.

3. 41st District (R to D) — *4 – Democrats here found themselves a phenomenal candidate in Padma Kuppa. The year 2018 looks like the right time. Troy and Oakland County look like the right place for her. Only $21,000 in television money spent here, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN), isn’t a promising sign for Republicans here.

4. 40th District (R to D) — *3 – If David Wolkinson is going down, it’s not going to be without a fight. His latest ad connecting “Hamas” and “BDS” (boycott, disinvestment, sanctions) to Mari Manoogian may be a sign of desperation. It may also be a sign that he’s got some money and he’s willing to do whatever it takes.

5. 71st District (R to D) — *6 – Republicans think Christine Barnes is winning. Democrats are convinced Angela Witwer is winning. Suffice it to say if the D’s don’t take this bellwether seat, a majority is absolutely off the table. 

6. 38th District (R to D) — *7 – Rep. Kathy Crawford’s (R-Novi) seat has become the battleground on television, based on numbers the MCFN collected. Republicans are sticking their flag in the ground in this Novi-based district that went 65 percent for Gov. Rick Snyder four years ago, but only 49 percent for Trump. So far, MCFN is reporting $424,399 in TV spending, the most among Michigan House races.

7. 61st District (R to D) — *5 – The numbers are moving up for Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Twp.), who never polls very well but always seems to find a way to win his races.

8. 19th District (R to D) — *8 – Brian Meakin is dealing with a tough environment, but this is still Livonia, right? More money has been spent here than next door in the 20th District, where Republicans are defending an incumbent. Kinda speaks to how competitive things are getting here.

9. 98th District (R to D) — *12 – Reports from Midland have U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland) knocking doors for Annette Glenn in recent weeks after Republicans discovered they may have a race in Bill Schuette’s home district. This isn’t necessarily the Blue Wave here. It’s Sarah Schulz crushing it at the doors and the incumbent utilities salivating at the thought of having nobody named Glenn in the legislature next year. 

Just remember, this 60 percent GOP district did go 56 percent for Trump two years ago.

10. 39th District (R to D) — *13 – It’s totally crazy to think that a candidate freshly charged with embezzlement could win. But in this Oakland County seat, where voters may not know which House district they live in, it’s a very real possibility. Ryan Berman is mailing Democrats to remind them his opponent, Jennifer Suidan, is the same Jennifer Suidan who allegedly stole from County Treasurer Andy Meisner’s campaign fund. Maybe it won’t matter and voters will force the Legislature to deal with it if she gets elected.

11. 104th District (R to D) — *9 – Attention seems to be shifting more to this district than the 101st. The question is whether Democrat Dan O’Neil is connecting with rural Grand Traverse County residents . . . even a little bit.

12. 99th District (R to D) — *11 – This district just seems like fool’s gold for Democrats every time. But we’ll keep an eye on it. It’s possible those Central Michigan University students could finally show up and vote, we suppose.

13. 43rd District (R to D) — *NR – If there’s nothing to see here, why are Republicans spending $44,000 on television for Andrea Schroeder? Nicole Breadon gives Democrats another option in Oakland County.

14. 91st District (R to D) — *10 – Republican Greg Van Woerkom seems to be pulling away. Makes you wonder what would have happened if Colleen Lamonte had run for the House again as opposed to the Senate. Could she have even been talked into running for the House again? Still, $224,614 in TV is being spent here.

15. 25th District (D to R) — *NR – This is still Trump-loving Macomb County. The same universe of voters that picked Karen Spranger for county clerk could vote Jazmine Early. Democrats wouldn’t be calling her an “open promoter of hate” if they weren’t at least a little worried. The MCFN has $45,000 in television spending here.

* = Rankings from Sept. 28, 2018 

Dropped Out:

101st District (R to D) – If anyone has anything negative to say about Jack O’Malley, please step forward . . . Anybody? . . . Last chance . . . Yup. That’s what we’re seeing, too. 

24th District (D to R) – Some digital ads are playing here so there is some action here. Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Twp.) has had a rough year so a loss is not completely impossible, but this is still Trump’s Macomb County until we see evidence otherwise.

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