JACKSON COUNTY, MI — Jackson County will see an equal split of Democratic and Republican representation for House and Senate seats.
The reallocation has resulted in a change in the candidates filling the new county seats, with three Republicans and three Democrats elected to office in the Nov. 8 general election. Formerly purely Republican counties will now see Democratic representation when the new officers take office on Jan. 1.
Related: What the new Congressional Legislative Maps mean for Jackson, Jackson County
Prior to the 2021 redistribution, Jackson County was represented by one Senate district and two State House districts. Based on previous voting results, these districts were heavily represented by Republican candidates.
Jackson County was originally part of State Senate District 16, which includes Hillsdale and Branch counties, and has been represented by Republican Mike Shirkey since 2014
In the state House of Representatives, Jackson County was in Districts 64 and 65, both of which were heavily occupied by Republicans apart from Democrat Martin Griffin, who held the District 64 seat from 2008 to 2010, and Democrat Mike Simpson, who served the district served 65 from 2007 until his death in 2009.
Tuesday’s Republican winner is Kathy Schmaltz, who defeated Democrat Maurice Imhoff to a two-year term in House District 46, which includes Jackson and stretches east into parts of Jackson and Washtenaw counties, including Chelsea.
Related: Live: Election results for the November 8 general election in Jackson County
Schmaltz received 54.4% of the vote while Imhoff received 45.6%. Schmaltz celebrated the win surrounded by friends, family and supporters Tuesday night at Bella Notte, 137 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Jackson.
“I want to thank the community for all of the support and I look forward to coming to Lansing and seeing what I can do to help,” Schmaltz said.
Related: Dems sweep Ann Arbor area State House, Senate races, win 8 of 9 Washtenaw County seats
Schmaltz is a graduate of Michigan State University and resides in the Jackson and Lansing areas. She was a news anchor and writer at WILX-TV in Lansing for 14 years. While this is Schmaltz’s first time in public office, she said she has “discussed public policy issues with national, state and local legislators my entire career.”
With her latest win, Schmaltz hopes to focus on the economy, education and continued police funding, she said. Including fighting to ensure parents have choice in their children’s education and to improve test scores, Schmaltz said. She said she will also fight to fully fund and support public safety officials.
“People shouldn’t have to choose between paying for gas, medicine, or groceries,” Schmaltz said. “It just shouldn’t be that hard for people. – And I really want to help all of our children get a good education and be protected. And a good partnership with the teachers.”
In early October, Imhoff announced he was ending his campaign after social media posts surfaced alleging he had threatened schools he attended as a teenager and key state and local Democratic leaders expressing their support for withdrawn him.
On October 21, Imhoff announced that he was reconsidering ending his campaign after receiving a lot of support from the community.
Imhoff did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Republican Sarah Lightner emerged victorious in the 45th House district with 67.6% of the vote, compared to her opponent, Democrat Ron Hawkins, who received 32.4% of the vote. The district consists of the townships of Springport, Parma, Concord, Pulaski, Hanover, Tompkins, Rives, Henrietta, Sandstone, Spring Arbor and Liberty in Jackson County and parts of Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties.
Democratic nominee Carrie Rheingans defeated Republican Tina Bednarski-Lynch in the 47th House of Representatives district. Rheingans received 57.1% of the vote, versus Bednarski-Lynch, who received 42.9% in the district serving northwest Ann Arbor, stretching west and a mix of urban and rural areas in Washtenaw and Jackson counties includes.
democrat Jennifer Conlin was also declared the winner for the 48th House Representatives District in a close race against Republican Jason Woolford. Conlin received 53.1% of the vote, Woolford 45.8%. Green Party candidate Eric Borregard also received 1.1% of the vote. The district includes Ann Arbor through portions of northern Washtenaw County, west into Jackson County and north past Whitmore Lake and Livingston County up to the Howell area, including Pinckney.
Republican Jonathan Lindsey also easily won the 17th State Senate district over Democrat Scott Starr. Lindsey saw 65.4% of the vote, while Starr received 34.6% in the district serving the communities of Concord, Pulaski, Parma and Springport in Jackson County, as well as Branch, St. Joseph and part of Calhoun counties.
Democrat Sue Shink also won the race for Senate District 14 over Republican Tim Golding. Shink received 55.9% of the vote compared to Golding, who received 44.1%, in the district that serves much of the north and west sides of Ann Arbor, Chelsea and Dexter, as well as rural communities in northern and western Washtenaw counties. It also covers most of Jackson County, including the city of Jackson.
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