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Michigan House Speaker escapes close race, holds first post-election session

Michigan Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids), and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Monroe).

House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) eked out a narrow victory on Tuesday night winning over Democratic challenger Bill Farmer (D) by a mere 757 votes.

Democrats picked up more seats in the State House, but Republicans hold onto their majority, so Bolger, in all likelihood, will continue on as Speaker (House members will hold a leadership vote this afternoon).

Bolger istweeting about the start of today's legislative session, the first session being held since the election:

"House session is well underway and voting has begun."

Some criticized the state Democratic party for putting too much money in the Bolger/Farmer race:

Inside Michigan Politics Editor Bill Ballenger said Democrats had a chance to take control of the House. “But apparently they squandered three-quarters of a million dollars trying to beat the speaker in a 57% Republican district out of some, I guess, personal vendetta about the Roy Schmidt party switch,” Ballenger said.

Together, Bolger and Schmidt plotted Schmidt's switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. They also tried to rig a re-election campaign by recruiting a fake Democrat to run against Schmidt.

For the two politicians involved, both have paid a political price, but only one lost his seat.

Roy Schmidt (R) was trounced in his re-election bid to Winnie Brinks (D) - 59% t0 31%.

Bolger continues on as questions still remain.

Michigan's Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R) recently dismissed complaints filed against Bolger of illegally using tax money to orchestrate the switch, but a grand jury is still looking into other allegations surrounding the switch.

Roy Schmidt will wrap up his time in the State House in the next two months. Beginning on January 9th, Winnie Brinks will begin representing Grand Rapids in the Michigan State House.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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