LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s expected that next week when the Democrats take control of the Michigan House that Detroit Democratic Rep. Joe Tate will be elected the new Speaker of the House.  

But in a startling new development, another Detroit Democrat is being courted to vote against Tate, which could possibly deny him the speakership.

While the two sides battle it out in Washington D.C. over the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, there could be a similar political battle over whom will be the next Speaker of the Michigan House.

The Democrats have 56 votes, but Detroit Rep. Joe Tate needs everyone of those votes to become the first African-American speaker in Michigan history.

House Republicans have not confirmed this, but reportedly they are working to convince one of those 56 Democrats to defect.

That lawmaker is Detroit Democrat Rep. Karen Whitsett.  

She is being tugged on by both sides and no one knows what she is being offered, if anything, for her vote.

Whitsett has a checkered past with her party.

She was censured by the Detroit Democratic party in April of 2020 for meeting then President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the White House, as she credited him with supporting a drug to combat COVID.

She has also from time to time voted with the Republicans on legislation. But if she votes to deny the speakership for Tate, she has reportedly been warned her district could be hurt.

Tate’s team is aware of all this back room maneuvering by the Republicans, but a source explains the Democrats could also work to convince some Republicans to vote for Tate just in case Whitsett does not.

The questions are – does Whitsett defect, and will Tate be speaker?

Two highly charged political questions, and it all comes to a showdown vote next week.