Some Michigan democrats think control of State Senate is within their grasp
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - Democrats haven't held control of the State Senate in more than 25 years, but the some democrats think that may change next year when every Senate seat is up for grabs.
Twenty-six State Senators are termed limited next year, including Senator Rick Jones who represents the Potterville Senate seat.
Democrats feel they can make gains in the Senate in 2018 partly due to the President Trump factor.
Michigan's 24th Senate district is big.
"It's all of Eaton County, all of Clinton County, all of Shiawassee County, then the Williamston area and Ingham County," said State Rep. Tom Barrett (R-Potterville).
Rep. Barrett just threw his hat in the ring for this Senate seat, which is expected to be one of the most watched races in Michigan.
"I want to take the experience I already have in the State House of Representatives, standing up for my district, fighting for retirees, trying to repeal the pension tax, fighting for veterans. I have six or seven bills that have been signed into law to help Michigan veterans. When I was first elected in 2014, I was the only Iraq war veteran in the Michigan House of Representatives," Barrett said.
But first, Barrett must fend off a republican in the August primary, and then face what would likely be his democrat opponent, Kelly Rossman McKinney.
"I'm known for working across the aisle as a very moderate democrat. I've got a heck of a shot," she said.
McKinney has worked in politics for decades.
So far, she's raised more than $75,000 for the race.
Senator Curtis Hurtel says McKinney is his top recruit, and she'll play a critical role in helping take the senate majority.
"I've lived in the district for nearly 30 years, and I asked him who he was going to get to run for that seat, and within a couple of months he had convinced me that I had the best shot," McKinney said.
McKinney says it will be a heavy lift for democrats to control the Senate, but she points out in midterm elections, the president's party tends to lose seats.
Plus, an EPIC-MRA poll shows a majority of Michigan voters have a negative approval of the president.
"Democrats have won this district at the highest levels. This district didn't vote for Obama not once but twice," McKinney said.
But republicans aren't backing down.
Another closely watched raise is the Michigan 29th Senate district, which covers much of Grand Rapids.