Starting with the House races, the 71st and the 101st both produced Republican contenders up by razor-thin margins of under .o9 percent each.
The 71st House District, located north of Lansing in the Grand Ledge area, saw a tight contest between incumbent Democrat Theresa Abed, and her Republican challenger Tom Barrett. With just over 35,000 votes cast and all precincts reporting, the unofficial count shows Barrett over Abed by 310 votes. Barrett of course declared victory, but Abed has not publicly ruled-out the recount option, nor has she made a formal concession. A recount can not even be ordered until the vote is certified.
The Lansing State Journal reports that the press secretary for the House Dems, Katie Carey, said that a re-examination of the results remains an option. Abed did not mention that possibility in her official statement through the her caucus:
“I am disappointed that I will not be returning to Lansing in January to represent the people of House District 71, but I am not disappointed in the campaign we ran or the great effort that my supporters gave over these last months… I may not be returning to the Capitol, but I will remain active in our community and will work to ensure that incoming state Rep. Tom Barrett is held accountable to work for what is best for all the voters and families of the 71st House District.”
If defeated, Abed could potentially be the only incumbent to lose her seat in the House, with 66 others, for the most part, sailing to re-election. However, she may not be alone if another recount in the 101st district unseats its GOP incumbent.
Two-term Republican Ray Franz found himself in a tight race for survival in his Northwestern Michigan district. The 101st covers a lot of Michigan real estate, encompassing four mostly rural counties — Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, and Mason. His Democratic challenger, Tom Stobie, inched within 321 votes — out of the nearly 37,000 cast. This race too, lacks a formal concession speech.
The Michigan Senate provided only one toss-up — but it’s a doozy. A recount there could win the Dems a coup — a former GOP seat is enticingly within reach. Among the 9 open seats, the 2oth truly remains too close to call, and most certainly the subject of a recount.
It’s a complicated district, with the 2011 reapportionment (i.e. gerrymandering) taking effect this election year in the Senate. The incumbent Republican, Tonya Schuitmaker, ran and won in her new district, the 26th, effectively leaving the 20th an open seat. Two former House members vied for the post, and came within 60 votes of each other.
Republican Margaret O’Brien, formerly of the House 61st district, barely nosed-out Democrat Sean McCann from the neighboring 60th.
A total of 80,461 votes were cast in the Senate’s 20th, with a Libertarian spoiler candidate earning over 7,000 of them — the bulk of which would typically have otherwise gone to the Republican contender — thus giving the Dem a fighting chance, landing within a 60 vote margin. (For those stat-geeks — that’s .007 percent of the total vote. Absolutely recount material.)
All-in-all — by the numbers, there’s precious little new to report in terms of the political control of both Michigan chambers. If the current vote count holds, the Senate will remain the same with a super-majority of 26 Republicans to 12 Democrats, and the House will lose some progressive ground, moving from a 59-51 GOP grip to a 62-48 makeup.
And the Republican lame duck legislative orgy has yet to commence.