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Michigan - 3rd District

Incumbent -- Vernon J. Ehlers (R) ; Will retire at end of current term (announced Feb. 10, 2010)

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

State Rep. Justin Amash is on target to succeed Ehlers in January, even though the Congressman backed another candidate in the GOP primary.

During the primary, Amash got the support of the Club for Growth, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) and FreedomWorks political action committee, which former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) leads.

Amash faces Grand Rapids lawyer Pat Miles (D) in November. In a better year, Democrats might be able to compete in this district that just barely favored Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Nestled along the Grand River, Grand Rapids teems with auto plants and metals manufacturing, but Michigan's second-most-populous city is a world away from Detroit. Conservative Dutch Republicans, not auto union Democrats, control the 3rd.

Also unlike Detroit, residents in the 3rd escaped complete dependence on the auto industry, and a majority of jobs in the metropolitan area are downtown and not in sprawling suburbs. Grand Rapids' health care industry prompted Michigan State University to build a new medical school here, and the city still produces metal office furniture, avionics systems, tools and home appliances. Footwear manufacturer Wolverine World Wide has headquarters in Rockford, north of Grand Rapids. One of the largest employers here, direct-sales company Alticor, is based in Ada.

Major efforts to revitalize downtown Grand Rapids have attracted young professionals. New residential lofts, a convention center and numerous museums fuel rejuvenated business and entertainment districts. More than 80 percent of residents live in Kent County, which has experienced significant growth outside of Grand Rapids. The rest live in Ionia and Barry counties, east and southeast of Kent, respectively.

Gerald R. Ford made his way to the U.S. House and then the Oval Office from Grand Rapids -- area roads, buildings and an airport are named for the 38th president -- and his brand of small-government Republicanism and fiscal restraint still holds sway in the 3rd.

Major Industry

Health care, manufacturing


Grand Rapids, 188,040; Wyoming, 72,125


Grand Rapids is home to the Norton Mound Group, a Hopewell culture burial center.




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