April 23, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Race Ratings: GOP Shores Up Freshmen in Competitive Michigan

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Gary Peters (above) will seek re-election in the 14th district after redistricting put him in the same district as Rep. Sander Levin.

Republicans barely touched the partisan makeup of this district for the new map — and for good reason. This western Michigan district reliably votes for Republicans — so if a district ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

If anything, Huizenga might want to watch out for a potential primary challenge. State Rep. Dave Agema (R) told Roll Call on Sept. 9 that he’s looking at challenging Huizenga and will be polling the race in the upcoming weeks.

But it’s still going to be difficult for either a Democrat or a Republican to topple Huizenga. The Congressman is well-known in this district from his tenure in the state Senate and for working for his predecessor, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R).

Huizenga gets a boost with Hoekstra on the statewide ticket. Hoekstra represented the 2nd district for nine terms and, after leaving Congress last year for a failed gubernatorial bid, is challenging Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D).

3rd district
Incumbent: Justin Amash (R)
1st term (60 percent)
Rating: Likely Republican

If redistricting is any indication, Amash doesn’t have many friends left in Lansing. Republicans made the freshman Member and former state Representative’s district more competitive in their redraw. He was the only Republican in the Michigan delegation who received that treatment. 

Republicans gripe that Amash hasn’t been a team player on Capitol Hill and cite his frequent “present” votes as proof. In his first several months in Congress, Amash has presented himself as more libertarian than Republican.

Fortunately for Amash, he’s got several things going in his favor. The freshman is still tight with one of Michigan’s most powerful GOP rainmakers, the DeVos family. The Club for Growth’s members will likely support him again, and not a single Democratic candidate has blipped on the radar in the 3rd.

4th district
Incumbent: Dave Camp (R)
11th term (66 percent)
Rating: Likely Republican

GOP mapmakers made Camp’s district more compact, shoring up Republicans somewhat, just enough to make Camp sleep a little more soundly.

Camp has never won this seat with less than 60 percent of the vote. As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, fundraising for his re-election will be easy. His role on the super committee can only amplify his financial intake.

Also, Michigan Democrats have a notoriously shallow bench in the 4th. Party faithful were hard-pressed to name any potential 4th district candidates — let alone a good one.

5th district
Open Seat
Rating: Likely Democratic

Rep. Dale Kildee’s retirement makes this an open seat in 2012, and Democrats will most likely keep it in their column. Republicans barely changed the partisanship of this gritty, blue-collar district in eastern Michigan.

The new 5th district lost parts of Tuscola County to the 10th, but it picks up northern Arenac, Bay and Iosco counties from the 1st district. The cities of Flint and Saginaw remain the population centers.

Four local Democrats are seriously considering a bid: former Rep. Jim Barcia, state Sen. John Gleason, Michigan Education Association organizer David Crim and Kildee’s nephew, former Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee.

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