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Politics & Government

With one week to go before the election, spending heavy in 15 Michigan House races

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Campaign spending on 15 pivotal state House seats tops $10 million, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. 

Democrats need to win nine state House seats currently held by Republicans to wrest control of the lower chamber in Lansing. And both sides are spending heavily.

Three state House races (99th, 91st and 61st districts) have seen more than $1 million each. Seven more have recorded more than $500,000 through November 1, with one week to go before Election Day. 

The 15 state House districts stretch from the western Upper Peninsula to the Ohio border. 

Craig Mauger is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He says he’s not surprised by all the spending. Mauger points out the House is the only branch of state government on the ballot this year.

“If Democrats want to have some say in what’s going to happen in state government for the next two years, they’ve got to take majority in the House,” says Mauger.

What has surprised Mauger is the volume of negative ads being run in these 15 state House campaigns.

“They’re trying to change voters' minds through negativity,” says Mauger. “This is a year where there’s been negativity up and down the ballot.”

Mauger expects this year will break the record for state house campaign spending set in 2014, when $25 million was spent on state House races.  The 2014 figure covers the entire election, including primaries, for all 110 seats.  The $10 million figure only accounts on spending on 15 races, and only the general election.  

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