As national Democrats coalesce behind Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum in the wide-open race to succeed Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is not ruling out a run.
“It’s a very simple fact that I am looking at it,” Bernero said in a Tuesday morning phone interview. “I am considering it. I don’t need to run for Congress … but if it’s a viable possibility then I would consider it."
Rogers announced his retirement last week, giving Democrats a much-needed pick-up opportunity in the Wolverine State. But his departure has left both parties scrambling for top candidates ahead of the April 22 filing deadline.
For Democrats, Byrum and Bernero are the top two candidate prospects. But at least one national Democratic group is posturing to back Byrum. She has been in communication with EMILY's List, a group that helps Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights. Meanwhile, Bernero said he's waiting for a survey, including a poll from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, to gauge his candidacy.
“I’d like to see some polling and I’m working on that and I understand the DCCC is working on it."
He added that a divisive primary, scheduled for Aug. 5, would not be helpful to his party.
“If I’m the stronger candidate, then I should run. I have to make sure it’s the right thing for me,” he added. “And if Barb is the stronger candidate than she should run."
“Obviously I’ve got a track record of running a few campaigns, some successfully,” he said, with laughter.
Democrats must pick up a net of 17 seats to take control of the House.
The Republican primary field remains highly fluid following Rogers' announcement. Republicans mention Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett, former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and state Sen. Joe Hune as potential candidates.
The race is rated Leans Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.