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Posted on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

GOP's redistricting plan protects Republican Mark Ouimet, hurts Republican Rick Olson

By Ryan J. Stanton


A look at the newly redrawn state House districts in Washtenaw County as proposed in maps released by Republicans in Lansing this afternoon.

Washtenaw County grew in population over the last decade while the rest of the state shrank, and that means it stands to see gains in its political clout in Lansing.

It's also becoming more Democratic.

The GOP's proposed state redistricting maps released today show Washtenaw County with four whole seats in the state House — up from three and a half.


Rick Olson

Perhaps the most notable change is in the 55th House District, where freshman state Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Township, now might have a hard time winning re-election next year.

The county's population grew and became more Democratic, making it hard for Republicans to protect both Olson and 52nd District state Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township.

Olson got the short end of the stick.

"I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," Olson commented after the maps were released this afternoon.

Olson's 55th District currently extends into Monroe County, but the new boundaries show it entirely contained within Washtenaw County. Olson lost key Republican territories and gained heavily Democratic territories, while the opposite happened to Ouimet.


Mark Ouimet

Most notably, Olson's district now includes the northern portion of the city of Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Township, Democratic territory. That's in addition to Pittsfield, York and Augusta townships and a portion of the city of Milan.

It's rumored that Lonnie Scott, a Democratic staffer for 53rd District state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, is likely to run in Olson's district next year. Olson hasn't decided if he'll run again. Washtenaw County Commissioner Kristin Judge, D-Pittsfield Township, also is eyeing the seat.

"The district, as designed, would be challenging at best," Olson said. "And the takeaway on this is what's happened to me is probably evidence that the process is fair and legal, and there was no effort made to evade the rules and protect me."

Ouimet has been a loyal ally of Gov. Rick Snyder and has consistently voted with the Republican majority to enact his policies. Olson, while he has done the same for the most part, has at times questioned whether some of the budget cuts being proposed by the GOP might be going too far.

Olson said he didn't think the lack of protection afforded to him through the redistricting process was a consequence of any stances he might have taken.

Irwin and 54th District State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, still enjoy being in heavily Democratic territories. They're both likely to run again next year.

The 53rd District, as drawn in the new maps, includes most of the city of Ann Arbor minus the northern portion that now falls into the 55th District. The 54th District is redrawn to include only the city of Ypsilanti and Superior and Ypsilanti townships.

Ouimet, who intends to run again, gave up the heavily Democratic northern portion of the city of Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Township while gaining the Republican-leaning Salem and Saline townships. His district also includes Chelsea, Saline and several other townships.

"It moves the district to a solidly Republican district," Ouimet said, adding it takes the guesswork out of which party might be favored to win next year. "I'm pleased with it."

A copy of the GOP's Senate redistricting map shows Washtenaw County being divided into two east and west districts, leaving 18th District Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, within the boundaries of a redrawn 18th District that now includes only the eastern portion of the county. That's likely to make it a more favorable district for Democrats.

"I'm sorry to be losing my constituents on the west side of the county, but looking forward to getting to know the citizens of the southern part of the county better," Warren said. "Keeping in mind, the lines don't officially change until the 2014 election for the Senate, so I'll certainly continue to serve my constituents in the west until this term is up."


A look at the Senate redistricting maps for Washtenaw County, showing the western portion of the county being drawn into the 22nd District.

The western portion of Washtenaw County has been drawn into the 22nd Senate District, which is dominated by Livingston County and is likely to stay Republican.

It appears Ouimet lives in the redrawn 22nd District, which could favor his chances of potentially moving up to the Senate in 2014. He hasn't said if he's eyeing the seat, though it's a logical next step for him in his political career.

Still, it could be a hard Senate seat for Ouimet to win, because the bulk of the district is in Livingston County and there likely would be a spirited primary with a Livingston County candidate in the running. The seat is now held by Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg Township.

The 17th Senate District currently held by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville has been redrawn to no longer include any portion of Washtenaw County. The district grew in population so the 17th District now includes only Monroe and Lenawee counties.

Washtenaw County's population grew by about 22,000 in the 2010 census counts, which put the total population at 344,791 residents.

Republicans today revealed the redrawn maps of Michigan’s congressional seats as well. As expected, U.S. Reps. Gary Peters and Sander Levin, both Democrats, are pitted against each other in the same district.

The maps will be considered by the Legislature this summer.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


Lac Court Orilles

Fri, Jun 24, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

It's like two pit vipers fighting over the same mouse.

Doug Gross

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

A state rep job requires high energy, commitment to alot of constituent interaction and follow-through, and the politicking of evening/weekend events. As I look at the names mentioned so far for the 55th, Kristin Judge is the only one that would do that kind of work for the 55th. 2012 seems like a long way off, but good people will step up!

Basic Bob

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

It would be nice if Kristin would get the Board of Commissioners' "Open Book" updated. Two months ago, Ms. Judge and Conan Smith had already outspent the other 9 commissioners combined. Kristin Judge, do the right thing, and show us your transparency! I bet Judge has spent more time on out of state conferences than interacting with her constituents east of the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks.


Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

We need good people in Lansing, and I hope Kristin Judge runs. When I have called her as my commissioner she has always been helpful.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

I figure Wesley Prater for the 55th, since he will likely get redistricted out of his County Commissioner seat. His BFF on the BOC, Kristin Judge, wouldn't stab him in the back to wrestle over this seat in the primary. And why would Dr. Grewal take a minority party position in Lansing when she has absolute power in Pittsfield? Better to wait until the Dems get more control before signing up for a mere 6 years. In Pittsfield, the line of succession has not been clearly established yet, neither Judge or Scribner seem like the supervisor type. I figure she stays put. As far as Pittsfield "owning" the 55th, I doubt there is a solid Pittsfield contingent. The township's population base east of Platt Road has been abandoned by the Harvest PTA coalition and would listen intently to a veteran campaigner like Prater. At the end of the day, it looks like the same old faces in different places.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

Lets reinvent Michigan! The governor likes power (HE cuts funds to communities and schools and if they can't handle it, HE sends in an emergency manager) Since there is no independent thought or debate with Mark Ouimet (he votes 100% with the governor) just give the governor Mark's vote and save his salary! Sorry Rick you ask questions!

Lac Court Orilles

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

Why ever vote for Quimet anyway, he will just fall in line with anything slick Rick the nerd proposes and abuse his expense account to boot.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

55th definitely a give-away. Pittsfield owns it. Only sure thing is Mandy Grewal if she wants it. Others have baggage but will probably step forward.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

Glad to see the Senate district map. We (Dexter) is in the 18th district with A2 and it does not allow proper representation.

David Cahill

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:18 p.m., how about a more detailed map showing exactly how Ann Arbor City would be divided between the 53rd and 55th districts? It looks like the boundary might run through our house. 8-)


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

No republican is safe next election. The republican party is on the way out. Seniors remember. Parents remember. Teachers remember. Workers remember. Oust em all let god sort them out.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 2:24 a.m.

Yes, but Inside always conveniently forgets that it was RepubliKans in charge of the legislature for 6 of those 8 years (it was divided the other two) and that, without approval of the legislature, the governor cannot magically make things happen. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

Oh we remember, we remember 8 years of Jenny Granholm and being blown away. Imagine if Virg Bernero were Governor this state would be toast. The redistricting convines Ann Arbor within her liberal walls. The Republican majority statewide has been fortififed with this plan for the next 10 years.

Michigan Man

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

Good plan. Smart people at work. Ouimet and Snyder getting it done for Ann Arbor and the State of Michigan. Did I read this week that 500 new, high paying and professional jobs are locating in downtown Ann Arbor? Ouimet and Snyder are producing solid and immediate results!


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

Yeah right, It was all because of Snyder and Quimet.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

And I think as an obvious partisan you're seeing what you want to see...


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

It won't be Lonnie Scott in 55. Look for Kristin Judge or Wes Prater to take a shot @ the 55th.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

The process of redistricting should be done by a computer algorithm, supervised by a non-partisan office, which in turn is overseen by a bipartisan commission. Get the politics out of the redistricting.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

Wow - the State Republicans are actually going to just give away the 55th District seat to the Dems. And by the looks of this - this new district will be held by the Dems for a long time.

Mary Fielder

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

The wrong guy got the short end of the stick, possibly(?) Mark Ouimet has not done Education, Senior Citizens, or working Middle Class any favors. Time to clean the" House."


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

And how much did this cost the taxpayers


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

The same it costs every time they are required to do this every 10 years. Stop complaining about things that are mandated by the law.