Democratic field set for special election that could determine control of Michigan House

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic primaries in two special elections in the Detroit area seeking to break a tie in the Michigan House of Representatives were won by a county commissioner and city councilor who will now go on to face Republican opponents in their Democratic-leaning districts in April.

Mai Xiong, a second-term commissioner in Macomb County, and longtime Westland City Council member Peter Herzberg each beat out a slate of other Democratic candidates to win the party’s nomination Tuesday. Xiong will now face Republican Ronald Singer in the 13th House District race and Herzberg will compete with GOP candidate Josh Powell in the 25th District.

The candidates are looking to replace two Democratic representatives who stepped down last year after winning mayoral races in their hometowns. That eliminated the Democrats’ two-seat majority in the state House, and the chamber has been stuck in a 54-54 deadlock since, with minimal voting activity this year.

The House deadlock follows a year in which Democrats pushed through a number of key pieces of legislation after flipping both chambers in the Legislature while holding onto the governor’s office in last year’s midterms.

Both the 13th and 25th districts have historically voted Democratic, making Xiong and Herzberg the favorites to win the April 16 general election. Winning back control of the state House would allow the party to push through a number of policy priorities before the entire chamber is back up for reelection in November.

Xiong had been endorsed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and cruised to victory over two other Democratic candidates, including former state Rep. LaMar Lemmons III.

Herzberg beat out four other Democratic candidates, including one that had been endorsed by Whitmer.

The April winner in each district will serve the remainder of the term, through the end of this year.

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