Inside Michigan Politics 2016 House Rankings: Wittenberg Most Liberal, Theis Most Conservative


Contact: Publisher Susan J. Demas, 517.420.6779,

The 2016 election is just under two months away, and Inside Michigan Politics has the definitive rankings of the “Most Liberal” and “Most Conservative” members of the state House of Representatives. All seats are on the ballot on Nov. 8.

The 2016 “Most Liberal” member is Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park), who scored a 92.9% liberal voting record. The “Most Conservative” member is Rep. Lana Theis (R-Brighton), who had just a 10.7% liberal rating.

The ratings are based on 28 litmus test roll-call votes this year. For the rankings, 100% is the gold standard for a representative who voted the liberal position on roll calls for an array of social, economic, taxation, environmental, civil rights, and public health/safety issues. If a roll call was missed, it was simply thrown out.

Two House members tied for second most-liberal: Reps. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods) and Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), who each voted liberal 89.3% of the time. The two-way tie for third place was between Reps. LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) and Kristy Pagan (D-Canton), who both posted 85.7% liberal records.

At the other end of the political/ideological spectrum, Reps. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), Laura Cox (R-Livonia) and Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), who voted liberal 14.3% of the time. Coming in third wereReps. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Gary Glenn (R-Midland) took third prize with their 17.6% liberal voting records.*  

In 2015, the most “Most Conservative” winners were disgraced, now-former Reps. Todd Courser (R-Silverwood) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell). Glenn placed second. Theis and Rep. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) tied for third.

Last year, Garrett was the “Most Liberal” House member. There was a five-way tie for second place between Wittenberg and Reps. Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak), Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) and Leslie Love (D-Detroit). Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) was third.

Inside Michigan Politics has been compiling the list for more than 25 years.

IMP has ranked the 109 members of the state House in 2016. That list is available to subscribers in our September 9, 2016 edition.

The list of the top three “Most Liberal” and “Most Conservative” House members from 2009 to 2015 is available at

*Corrected, 9/12/16