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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.

Barcia represented at least half of the new 5th during the 1990s, but that rural, northern territory is also the least Democrat-friendly terrain in the district. Crim is well-known in the district because his father is the former Speaker of the state House, but his personal political skills remain untested.

Gleasonís state Senate district includes Flint ó the districtís Democratic base ó and heís also well-known. But Gleason must compete for votes in the Flint area with Dan Kildee, whoís also going to get a boost because of his name.

The Democratic victor will most likely also be the districtís next Congressman.

6th district
Incumbent: Fred Upton (R)
13th term (62 percent)
Rating: Likely Republican

Upton was one of his delegationís leading voices on the new map, and he was a team player by marginally redrawing his own southwest Michigan district to make it slightly less competitive.

The new 6th district lost parts of Calhoun County, one of the more competitive counties in central Michigan.

There is one announced Democratic candidate running against Upton: Iraq and Afghanistan wars veteran John Waltz. In 2010, Waltz lost a House bid in Kentucky against Rep. Geoff Davis (R) by 38 points ó not exactly a promising sign for a candidate, especially given that Upton has won with at least 58 percent of the vote since he was elected in 1986. Waltz moved back to his home state this summer.

Uptonís influence is increasing on Capitol Hill with his dual roles as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and as a member of the super committee.

7th district
Incumbent: Tim Walberg (R)
2nd term (50 percent)
Rating: Leans Republican

Republicans did what they could to make this district safer. Walberg has had a rocky run in Congress ó he unsuccessfully ran in the primary for this seat in 2004 before defeating fellow Republican former Rep. Joe Schwarz in the primary in 2006. Walberg lost his seat to Rep. Mark Schauer in 2008 but defeated the Democrat to win a second term in 2010.

The new 7th district shed competitive Calhoun County. Not coincidentally, that county is home to both Schauer and Schwarz.

Republicans say Walberg has learned from his eight years of competitive campaigns. They point out that heís no longer dependent on the conservative, cash-flush Club for Growth.

But Democrats argue this is still a competitive district, especially if they can field a candidate from the newly added Monroe County. Longtime Rep. John Dingell (D) boasts deep ties to Monroe County after representing it for three decades. Thereís a path to victory there for a Democrat if Dingell or another top party member can find someone to run.

8th district
Incumbent: Mike Rogers (R)
6th term (64 percent)
Rating: Likely Republican

The GOP did not change much about this slightly Republican district ó probably because it has a lot of faith in Rogers. The chairman of the Intelligence Committee knows how to run a tough race, even though he has not had one since his first term. Rogers won by a slim 100 votes in 2000, but he has glided by with at least 55 percent in subsequent elections.

9th district
Incumbent: Sander Levin (D)
15th term (61 percent)
Rating: Likely Democratic

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