State Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, was elected in November to the state house to replace the term limited Adam Zemke in the Michigan 55th District. Warren, term-limited as a senator, still has two years of eligibility in the state house.
A rumor flying around Washtenaw County Democratic Party circles has Warren taking a job in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration instead of taking elected office. The same rumor has Pittsfield Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal and Washtenaw County Commissioner Felicia Brabec as two likely Democratic Party contestants in an election that would be held early in 2019.
The Saline Post spoke with several county Democrats who’ve heard the same rumor – or a variation close to it.
Replying to a text from The Saline Post, Sen. Warren poured cold water on the rumor.
“Lots of rumors flying around but the truth is I ran for the state house and have no intentions of doing anything for the next two years but serving in the house,” Warren said.
Whether the election is in 2019 or 2020, both Grewal and Brabec plan to run for the Democratic Party nomination.
Grewal has been Supervisor of Pittsfield Township since 2008.
“Yes, I am running for the House District 55 State Representative’s seat - in 2019 if there is a special election or 2020,” Grewal said. “Please note that, if elected, since just over one third of the 55th house district includes all of Pittsfield, I fully intend to continue serving and being accessible to all residents as I have been for the past decade as their Supervisor.”
Brabec, appointed to the county board in 2011 and elected ever since, confirmed her interest in the seat.
“I can tell you that I am definitely interested in serving the residents of the 55th district when the seat becomes available. Serving in this capacity seems a natural extension of the work I get to do for our residents at the county. However, at this time, Senator Warren is elected to serve the residents of the district,” Brabec said. “I’m continuing to be focused on serving the residents of Pittsfield and Ypsilanti townships on the county commission. But there are important issues in Lansing that impact all of us, and many people have encouraged me to run for the legislature when the time is right.”
Grewal moving to the state house would create a vacancy at the top of Pittsfield Township government. Whether that happened it in 2019 or in January of 2021, more than half the term is over so instead of a special election, the township board would appoint the supervisor for the remainder of the term, Grewal said.
Washtenaw County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum said his office has heard the same talk about a potential special election to replace Warren. If it happens, Kestenbaum said, it would be at the direction of Governor-Elect Whitmer.
“A lot of states have rules about appointments to replace legislators in the state house or in Congress. Michigan does not have those rules. If there is a vacancy, the governor would call a special election and has a lot of freedom to decide when that would be,” Kestenbaum said. “My guess is that if it happened, there would be a primary or general election in May.”
The state has official election dates in May, August and November – but the governor has the ability to call a special election earlier, Kestenbaum said.
If Brabec were elected early, the county board would appoint her successor.