A Power Line reader from Michigan, who follows voting patterns in his state closely, has provided me with a brief analysis of four Michigan congressional districts that seem to be in play this year. Each is currently represented by a Democrat. Two of them, MI-1 and 7, are rated “toss-ups” by Larry Sabato. A third, MI-9, is rated “leans Democratic.” The fourth, MI-5, doesn’t seem to be on Sabato’s radar, but may nonetheless be a potential Republican pickup.
MI-1 is represented by Bart Stupak who, after putting Obamacare over the top, is retiring. The Republican primary has not yet produced a clear winner, but my correspondent likes the chances of whichever Republican — Dan Benishek or Jason Allen — prevails:
While none of the Republicans seem to be dynamic. . .[they] did pull a large amount of votes across all sectors of the Upper Peninsula and northern tip of Lower Peninsula, which while Democratic leaning, is strongly conservative. My take would be that a large [number] of independents will break to the GOP this time, because of what Stupak did on healthcare vote.
This region is known for an independent streak that can zig when you expect a zag. Both top vote getters on the GOP side had just about as many votes as the Dem did (about 900 fewer). [There were] nearly 100K votes in the primary, which again probably had some crossover for [moderate Republican gubernatorial candidate] Snyder, but only 27K for the Dems. So [the Dems] would have to nearly double their vote to win this seat. I see this going GOP this time and back in play for 2012 when the Dems will have time to field a stronger candidate.
MI-3 is represented by Democrat Mark Schauer. Our reader likes the prospects of his opponent, Tim Wahlberg, the man Schauer defeated in 2008:
[The 2008] vote was anti Bush. [It] drove people to vote Democratic who normally wouldn’t have. The bad economy has now taken root and people are very nervous. Mark Schauer looks like Medvedev when he stands next to Putin, scared and weak. That visual plus the fact he has been out of sight in his district for the last 6 months, says he has polling that indicates he will only agitate voters by appearing, so better to stay under cover.
Regardless, this area, the I-94 Corridor between west side of Ann Arbor to edge of Kalamazoo is strong Center-Right. The [Republican] vote was heavy, nearly 100K. My guess, from discussion with coworkers, is that Snyder drew many in to vote [Republican], but they are apt to do the same [in November]. Schauer rode Obama coattails, and those don’t exist this time. I expect this to go back GOP and stay there in 2012.
MI-9 is represented by Democrat Gary Peters. My correspondent thinks Peters is vulnerable, but isn’t that impressed by his opponent, Rocky Raczkowski:
No. 9, in which I once lived, is a changing district. Once a heavy GOP county, Oakland is now blending as the libs move north and west to avoid crime and taxes. Peters is no dynamic guy, but his opponent Rocky Raczkowski is not either. This will come down to GOTV. Are Dems fired up to match Tea Party and GOP in the county? . . .
My friend emailed me this morning to say West Oakland went heavy for Snyder and Hoekstra took the east side of the county (where I lived). So that tells me conservatives are there, but is Rocky the guy to get them enthused. . .?
MI-5 is represented by Dale Kildee, and has been since 2003. Thus, Kildee has won in good Republican years. Yet he is probably vulnerable:
One other district to watch is the 5th District of Dale Kildee. Every election he seems to be be mortal, only to survive. I was shocked to see that he was out polled by his Republican opponents in total. He is someone that if enthusiasm does not show up for the Dems on Nov. 2nd. could [face] a close race. I don’t expect it to switch but could be a 51 – 49 type win and spell the end of his run in 2012.
To me, it looks like in a pretty good Republican year, the party picks up two Michigan seats. In a “wave” election, it picks up three; and in a blow-out of historical portions, four.