The Gongwer Blog

Bezotte, Morse Won't Run For Reelection In '24

By Elena Durnbaugh
Staff Writer
Posted: January 29, 2024 10:05 AM

Two more House members have announced they aren't seeking reelection in 2024.

Rep. Bob Bezotte (R-Howell), 73, won't run again for his seat representing the 50th House District in rural Livingston County, and Rep. Christine Morse (D-Texas Township) won't seek a third term in the 40th District in the western Kalamazoo suburbs.

Instead, Bezotte has endorsed Jason Woolford, who announced his campaign for the seat on Tuesday. Woolford ran for the 48th District in 2022 but lost to Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor). The 48th District is a highly competitive district. The 50th District is solidly Republican.

"As a United States Marine Veteran, businessman, minister and president of a non-profit organization, I believe we need to re-employ and re-engage the fundamentals that made this country great into Michigan," Woolford said in a statement. "I am a versatile candidate with a background in many areas that face the good people of the 50th District and I plan to use my experience to better our community."

Bezotte was elected to the House in 2020 and won a second term in 2022. His office did not return a request for comment prior to publication. He was the longtime Livingston County sheriff prior to serving in the House.

Earlier this month, Morse, 50, announced that she would not run in a letter sent to her supporters.

"After much deliberation, I have decided to return to the practice of law at the end of my term. I will have additional news on next steps soon, but for now please know that this was by no means an easy decision," Morse said in the letter. "It is the right one for me both personally and professionally."

Morse currently chairs the House Health and Humans Services Appropriations Subcommittee. She was first elected to the House in 2020 and flipped the seat from Republican to Democratic hands. Morse won a landslide reelection in 2022 with 58 percent of the vote as the Kalamazoo suburbs continue to shift Democratic.

Morse was the best recruit Democrats had ever fielded for the seat, having just won a seat on the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners. Although the seat is likely a tough pickup for Republicans, it's not impossible, particularly if Democrats struggle to find someone as strong as Morse to run.

Morse didn't return a request for comment prior to publication.

There are now at least four open seats in the House. Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale) previously announced he was forgoing reelection to run for the Supreme Court. And Rep. Dale Zorn (R-Onsted) cannot seek reelection because of term limits.

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