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The race for the 45th House District, a historically Republican area that has seen
Democratic gains in recent years, particularly as Oakland County continues its blue shift, is poised to go down to the end as Republican Mark Tisdel and Democrat Barb Anness duke it out.

Republicans are a bit split here, pointing to what they see as effective messaging from Mr. Tisdel, a former Rochester Hills City Council president, though others have pointed to a strong absentee turnout so far in Rochester Hills, which would potentially bode poorly for the Republican candidate.

U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester) and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) also have districts that overlap this one, and those races have not been as competitive for the GOP as one might have thought when the two freshman members of Congress flipped their seats in 2018.

Ms. Anness, a Rochester Community Schools Board of Education trustee, said in an interview earlier this week she is feeling energized as November 3 inches closer. "I would say in the last several weeks I have been able to have face-to-face conversations with folks," she said. "It really matters when I knock on their door and they are shocked I am the actual candidate. I am asking them how they feel about what is happening in the state of Michigan." Ms. Anness said voters are most concerned with public education and the coronavirus pandemic effecting their lives.

Mr. Tisdel also said education is at the top of voters' minds, and they are frustrated that kids aren't back in school in person. "There is a need for measurable metrics so everyone can look at them and understand …
the decisions being made," he said.

As both sides are all in on this race, the attack ads are flowing. Ms. Anness said an ad about her that has "outraged friends and family alike" says she wants to defund the police. "I am a person who is a former PTA parent. A school board trustee. I am obviously a concerned citizen and I want everyone to feel safe," she said. "I want to see that available in all communities. In this district we have dedicated law enforcement officers who work in tandem with our community. … This narrative being pushed about me is a blatant lie."

Mr. Tisdel said he, too, is feeling good with five days to go. He said even if voters are not voting for him, they are still able to have a pleasant conversation on the doors. On attack ads against him, they have pointed to votes he took on the city council, like a $500 annual raise for the city council president – it was him and it was also recommended by a human resources committee – and a move to increase water and sewer rates as the providers was increasing rates.
"Unfortunately, it appears that negative advertising works election after election or the parties and the outside interests would stop using them," he said.
He noted the council president raise, which equates to $40 a month, will go to any future council president as well and it passed unanimously.

On if the district is changing – outgoing Rep. Mike Webber's (R-Rochester Hills) 55 percent total in 2018 was the smallest for a Republican since it took on its current design starting with the 20212 election – Ms. Anness said there are voters in the district who are in the middle and being pragmatic.
"But I have been seeing a trend toward purple or blue," she said. "When you feel like for years that the actions taken by …. people who are supposed to be representing you are not representing your values; I have been hearing frustration from voters at the doors." Ms. Anness said for the most part she does not hear voters wanting to talk about President Donald Trump. Mr. Tisdel said it is one of the main questions he gets, if he is voting for Mr. Trump.
Mr. Tisdel said while he is not looking toward Mr. Trump for "moral leadership," he plans to vote for the president to get a second term. "Then it is immediately  'you've got my vote' or 'I don't want to talk to you," he said. "President Trump is very polarizing."

Ms. Anness said voters are concerned about the pandemic and frustrated about a lack of a national strategy. On COVID, Ms. Anness said she would like to see the state provide more assistance to small businesses, particularly if there is not another federal stimulus package."Small businesses are what drives the local economy," she said.

Mr. Tisdel pointed to a plan from Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) and other House Republicans that would put in place certain metrics and allow counties to roll back some restrictions if it works with the data and their area. "I think it is somewhat disingenuous to say we have to get the virus under control before we
can get the economy back up and fully running," he said. "We are going to have positive COVID tests for years."

October 29, 2020
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