It just got harder for the Democrats to win control of the state House in November.
That's because Jennifer Suidan, the Democratic candidate for state representative in a key Oakland County district, has been accused of stealing funds from the campaign of Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner while she was working at a Southfield-based law firm as his campaign committee's designated record keeper.
In a written statement, Meisner said, "She has betrayed my trust and the trust of all who expected her to perform her duties honestly and in compliance with the law. I publicly withdraw my endorsement of Ms. Suidan as the Democratic nominee in the 39th State House District."
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon and other party officials have called for Suidan to quit her campaign for the 39th House District seat.
In a written statement, Dillon said, "There's no excuse for these actions, whether committed during a campaign or as a private citizen," adding that Suidan should suspend her campaign immediately. "We remain focused on electing our candidates up and down the ballot who will fight for quality, affordable healthcare, protect our Great Lakes, and take on the special interests like Betsy DeVos who have used our state as their piggy bank for the past decade while working people and families continue to suffer under complete Republican control of our government."
According to Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, although the Oakland County seat was considered a toss-up, it had been predicted to likely go to the Democrats.
"It means the Democrats are going to have to flip another seat that was going to be a tougher get than the one where Jennifer Suidan was running," said Gorchow.
Nine seats in the Michigan House have to switch from Republican to Democrat in November for the Democrats to achieve a majority.
Gorchow said that to be removed from the ballot, Suidan would have to move out of the district or claim a health issue. He said even if she were removed from the ballot, it is unlikely the Democrats could field a candidate ready to run and win in the short time left before the November election.
Republican Ryan Berman and Libertarian Anthony Croff also are running for the 39th District seat in the November election.
According to Paul Walton, chief assistant prosecutor in the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, no charges have been filed against Suidan and the embezzlement allegations are under investigation by the Oakland County Sheriff.
Suidan did not reply to requests for comment.