In an upset win Tuesday, Democrat Carol Glanville defeated Republican Robert “RJ” Regan in a special election for a Michigan House seat that had only ever been held by a Republican.
Results remain unofficial, but with all precincts in the district reporting, Glanville led Regan by more than 1,500 votes as of 10:30 pm She topped 51% of the total votes cast; Regan garnered 40% and 7.9% went to write-ins.
The district was one of four House districts with special elections to fill vacant seats on Tuesday. A number of municipalities also had local proposals on the ballot.
See local elections results here
Regan made national headlines in March for suggesting rape victims “lie back and enjoy it,” after he promoted conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and shared antisemitic rhetoric. He was favored to win in the heavily Republican district.
Glanville is a Walker city commissioner who previously worked as a teacher and administrator, according to her campaign website. On the website, three campaign priorities are listed: education, good-paying jobs and the environment.
“West Michigan values of integrity, decency, and care for the common good won tonight,” Glanville tweeted. “The people of the 74th District have spoken, and I hear you. We are united in fundamental ways, and I will take our values and concerns to the Capitol to affect positive change. Thank you!”
She will represent the current 74th District in Kent County. The district encompasses suburban communities outside of Grand Rapids, including Grandville, Rockford, Walker and surrounding municipalities. The district was left vacant when former state Rep. Mark Huizinga, R-Walker, won a special state Senate election last year.
Glanville’s term will expire on Dec. 31, along with the district, as new district maps go into effect. Glanville has filed to run in the new 84th House District this fall. Regan has also filed to run in the same district.
The current 74th District had only ever been represented by a Republican — Huizinga first was elected to office in 2016. In 2020, he defeated Democrat Meagan Hintz by 24 points, earning a third term in the heavily Republican district.
Before Huizinga, former Rep. Rob VerHeulen and current Kent County GOP chair represented the district from 2012 to 2016.
Regan’s comments in March drew condemnation from Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser, although Weiser did not call on Regan to withdraw from the race.
“Mr. Regan’s history of foolish, egregious and offensive comments, including his most recent one are simply beyond the pale,” Weiser said in a March statement following Regan’s primary win.
More: Michigan GOP doesn’t disavow a candidate who suggested victims rape ‘lie back and enjoy it’
Special elections for vacant House seats also took place in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties on Tuesday. Those elected will serve in the state Legislature until Dec. 31. The elections were held using the older, GOP-drawn districts based on the 2010 census.
Entering Tuesday, Republicans held 55 seats while Democrats held 51 seats in the state House. The upcoming August primary and November general state house elections will be held using new voting districts drawn by a citizen-led, independent redistricting commission.
The state House map drawn by the new commission still gives Republicans an advantage, but nowhere near the same extent as the map is currently in place, according to partisan fairness measures used by the commission.
More: Michigan Supreme Court Tosses Partisan Fairness Litigation Challenging State House Map
43rd House District
In the 43rd House District, Republican Mike Harris defeated Democrat Kent Douglas by 13 percentage points, with 100 percent of precincts reporting around 9:40 pm
The Oakland County district won by Harris includes Independence Township, Lake Angelus, Clarkston and part of Waterford. The seat was held by former state Rep. Andrea Schroeder, R-Independence Township, who died after battling a rare form of stomach cancer.
Harris retired last year from the Waterford Township Police Department after 25 years, according to The Oakland Press.
“My family was blessed to be in a community that loved its first responders,” Harris states on his campaign website. “The care and outreach from the area citizens only pushed me to be a better officer and person. This community has made me realize that even after a rewarding law enforcement career, I am not done serving.”
Priorities from campaign website — https://www.electmikeharris.com/about
Harris won a four-way Republican primary in March, getting 48 percent of the vote compared to the next-closest candidate’s 31 percent.
Election results for the 15th District and 36th District races in Wayne and Macomb counties, respectively, were not available as of 10:15 pm In the 15th, Democrat Jeffrey Pepper was running against Republican Ginger Shearer. In the 36th, Democrat James Diaz was facing Republican Terence Mekoski.
Clara Hendrickson fact-checks Michigan issues and politics as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Make a tax-deductible contribution to support her work at bit.ly/freepRFA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-296-5743. Follow her on Twitter @clarajanehen.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Carol Glanville upsets Robert Regan in bid for Michigan House