Unprecedented spending in Hill, Wagner race for 109th State House District

Michigan State Capitol building
Michigan State Capitol building(Sara Schulz, WILX | Sara Schulz, WILX)
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 5:35 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - When we go to the polls to cast our vote Tuesday, there is one Upper Peninsula race that has captured the attention of state leaders from both political parties.

It’s the 109th State House District race as Democrat Jenn Hill faces Republican Melody Wagner to replace term-limited Sara Cambensy.

While the seat has been held by Democrats since 1955, political strategists believe there has been a shift in party sentiment and the election could go either way.

WATCH: The Ryan Report - Oct. 2, 2022 - Don sits down with Jenn Hill and Melody Wagner

Marty Fittante, former longtime chief of staff for Senator Tom Casperson, shared his thoughts on this tightly contested race.

“When you look at just the House and the typical history of Upper Peninsula House races this is atypical,” said Fittante.”

What is not typical is the amount of money being spent on the race as Fittante reported.

“So as of a week ago it was $1.1 million and that’s just direct candidate contributions,” he said. “That doesn’t consider any of the outside money, so when you compare that to 2020 as an example, of what was poured into the 109th District, it’s 10 times more money into the candidates than just two years ago.”

In a year when redistricting has resulted in a wide-open race for control of the state House and Senate, both parties are going after any seat they believe they can win.

“Those that I’m talking to, they actually believe it’s in play,” said Fittante. “And I think the money you’re seeing invested here suggests just that. The parties aren’t going to be investing $1.1 million unless their polling suggests this is a close race. They’re calling on their traditional supporters outside of this district for support so you’re seeing that both that both with candidate Hill and Candidate Wagner. There is certainly some of that money being raised in district but a big part of it is actually being pushed from outside the district for both candidates.”

Hill versus Wagner will certainly be in the record books for expenditures for an Upper Michigan House race.

“It will. History could be made. Excited to see it, but regardless I think it’s going to be a close race,” said Fittante.

Don Ryan and Marty Fittante will be in the studio to share their observations Tuesday night as TV6 and FOX UP bring you election returns.