"My opponent's voted for cutting education and for cutting business taxes," Driskell concludes. "I'm running because we're going in the wrong direction, and we need to change."
Covering all but the north side of Ann Arbor, the Fifty-Third is so deeply blue that in his first campaign two years ago, Jeff Irwin won with 80 percent of the vote. But with Democrats in the minority in Lansing, he's been left to watch in frustration as the Republicans reshaped state government.
"Their greatest failure is cutting education funding," he says. "The Republicans raided the school fund to pay for tax cuts for businesses. If they keep [control of] the state house, we'll see higher taxes on working-class people and lower taxes on upper-income people. And they'll also continue their social agenda: they'll continue to go after gay rights and women's rights."
Still, Irwin sees hope. "If we take back the house, we can help Snyder be the governor he could be--a governor more concerned about jobs and economy than about who's sleeping with whom."