States & Candidates

States can change the direction of our country.

Michigan 2020

Goal

Flip House

Chamber Makeup

State Senate

16 Democrats

22 Republicans

State House

52 Democrats

58 Republicans

Opportunity Assessment

Michigan is one of the three states that determined the 2016 election for Trump. After netting five seats in 2018, there is an even clearer path to winning a new legislative majority in the Michigan House: Just four seats would ensure that the state’s politics finally start working just for its citizens first and foremost.

The Stakes

Michigan’s politics show that a Democratic governor is not enough. The existing majority in the legislature still won’t play ball.  They used a lame duck session after the 2018 elections to undermine the will of voters at almost every turn—and they haven’t stopped.

  • Worked to undo minimum wage and paid sick leave proposals Michiganders were pursuing through ballot initiatives
  • Worked to undermine a 2018 ballot initiative creating an independent redistricting committee, that was passed with 70% of the vote.
  • Blocked efforts to remove corporate influence and increase transparency in the legislative process.
  • Taken every opportunity to resist efforts to improve K-12 schools, reduce student debt, and clean up polluted drinking water.

2020 Political Landscape

  • In 2020, the entire House is up for election and Democrats only need to net four out of 58 Republican seats to flip the chamber.
  • It seems exceedingly unlikely the state will be ignored by the Democratic presidential candidate again and a big effort would pay major dividends in this traditionally blue state.
  • In 2018:
    • With an additional 1,200 votes across three districts, Democrats would have broken the Republican majority.
    • Future Now Fund endorsed all six Democrats who flipped Republican-held House seats in addition to the next three closest finishers who came closest.
    • Even though the Michigan House is ruthlessly gerrymandered by Republicans, Governor Gretchen Whitmer won four Republican-held districts, providing a clear path to break the current majority in the House.

Meet the candidates

  • Laurie Pohutsky
    Laurie Pohutsky
    HD-19

    Raised by a nurse and a Teamster, the importance of public service and hard work was instilled in Laurie at a young age. After working in health care and toxicology, Laurie brought this commitment to a scientific perspective to the state Capitol in 2018.

  • Matt Koleszar
    Matt Koleszar
    HD-20

    Matt is a former public school teacher who ran for office after repeatedly seeing lawmakers pass bills that neglected schools and hard-working Michiganders. In Lansing, Matt is working hard to ensure schools are fully funded and his community is supported.

  • Kelly Breen
    HD-38

    Kelly is a lifelong resident of Michigan. She started as a local activist fighting to protect her neighborhood and is running to advocate for her state’s future and working families across Michigan.

  • Julia Pulver
    Julia Pulver
    HD-39

    From bedside to boardroom, Julia’s experience as a nurse and public health leader has inspired her to fight for better healthcare for all Michiganders.

  • Mari Manoogian
    Mari Manoogian
    HD-40

    Mari devoted her life to public service even before joining the state house at just 26, starting by interning with her local Congressman. She is now the assistant Minority Whip and is working tirelessly for gender equality, workers, and schools.

  • Padma Kuppa
    Padma Kuppa
    HD-41

    Padma is an engineer and community leader. In 2018, she took this leadership to the state capitol, where she serves as assistant Democratic Whip, co-chairs an equal pay task force, and fiercely advocates for the environment, workers, and schools.

  • Barb Anness
    HD-45

    A Trustee for Rochester Community Schools Board of Education and an active PTA leader, Barb is running to advocate for quality schools and improve lives for all Michiganders.

  • Christine Morse
    Christine Morse
    HD-61

    A former attorney, a wife of a Navy Veteran, and cancer survivor, Christine is running to use her experiences to build a better future for all working families in Michigan.

  • Jim Haadsma
    Jim Haadsma
    HD-62

    As the son of missionaries, the value of public service was instilled in Jim early. He served as a county commissioner before running for and winning a seat in the state house where he is fighting to revitalize and empower his community.

  • Angela Witwer
    Angela Witwer
    HD-71

    Angela is a business owner who worked in healthcare for 22 years. A community leader and longtime advocate for strong public schools and better healthcare policy, Angela has been fighting for these causes from the state house since 2018.

  • Chokwe Pitchford
    Chokwe Pitchford
    HD-79

    Coming from generations of Benton Harbor graduates, Chokwe is running to represent the interests of working people. In the State House, he will fight for the people of Michigan, not narrow special interests.

  • Dan O'Neil
    Dan O'Neil
    HD-104

    Born and raised in Traverse City, Dan is an attorney who is running to strengthen education and end the corrupting influence of special interest money in our political system.