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Some people who are running for office this year ... and some who aren't

by: Eric B.

Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 09:50:37 AM EDT

I think we've mentioned the Democratic primary in the 8th CD a couple of times, maybe in a comment and then when people announced. Not terribly sure. Anyway, here's a story for about the CMU professor who is running to challenge Mike Rogers. I've gotten a couple of inquiries about what I know about this lady, since she's at CMU and I'm in the same town she works in. The answer is that I've heard of her before, but only through some people I know in social work circles. We've never crossed paths, personally, especially since I think she actually lives in Lansing.

Speaking of CMU and Mount Pleasant, I think there's been some inquiries about who might challenge Dave Camp. The answer to that is that the other day one of our local active Democrats, John Barker, was hunting up candidates on Facebook. I'll let you draw your own conclusions accordingly.

Eric B. :: Some people who are running for office this year ... and some who aren't
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2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th districts
Dean Vanderstelt from Spring Lake is running against Bill Huizenga in the 2nd.

Kind of surprised no Democrat has announced for the 3rd, which is more Democratic than the 2nd. Perhaps folks think that since Pestka lost by 9 points to one of the most extreme lawmakers in the country, Dems probably won't win it until the next round of redistricting. Would be a good race for someone who's looking at running for another office in the future.*

The thing about Districts 2, 3, 4, and 8 is that Romney won them by 13, 7, 8, and 3 points, respectively.

That's why you don't always see big names running for those seats when an incumbent is running for re-election - why put in so much time and effort when you probably won't win?

It also leads many folks to wonder why we'd bother recruiting for those seats. There are some good reasons to recruit for those races.

Even if they're not expected to win, good campaigns by red-district candidates can help boost the rest of the Democratic ticket. For example, there are competitive House races (and a competitive Senate seat or two) in those districts. Well-run campaigns of red-district candidates can help with turnout while also bolstering the overall Democratic brand.

Plus, no matter how blue or red the district, a strong campaign can also build name recognition for other races in the future. Michael Huckleberry won a state House race in 2008 after twice challenging Camp. This also plays in swing districts; just a few months after losing his 2010 state Senate primary against the well-known Robert Jones, Mark Totten was the top vote-getter in a Kalamazoo school board race. An hour north, David LaGrand was elected to the Grand Rapids City Commission in 2007, a year after giving Senator Bill Hardiman a scare.

*On a personal note, it would be great if a certain former employer of mine would make another run for the 3rd...

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

Great comment.
Similar to your Huckleberry point, Mike Simpson (may he rest in peace) had previously lost an attempt (or two) for Congress against Nick Smith prior to successfully being elected State Representative in the Jackson County vicinity.

I didn't realize the Eighth District only went for Romney by 3 points in 2012.  Cool.

Broadly speaking, an active, concerted congressional campaign helps organize Democratic efforts and has the potential to boost turnout.  This is especially important in areas that have county party organizations that aren't especially active; the congressional-level organizing can help breathe life into them, or provide a constructive outlet for passionate party activists.

Also, there is always that chance that the Republican nominee doesn't make the ballot or crashes and burns.  Can't benefit from that stumble if there is no (or no solid) Democratic nominee.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Despite Mike becoming entrenched in the district, the 8th is not overly Republican, even as it was redistricted.  Redistricting only cut out (red) Clinton County and the part of rural/exuburan Shiawassee County that was attached to it.  The only major change was that it snaked a bit around the northeast corner of Oakland County.  Obama won the former district by 7 in 2008.

As long as it has part of metro Lansing in it (Ingham County), it's never going to be too Republican.  The problem is that Dems never took it seriously, so Mike was able to build up a war chest.  So long as he stays smiley and friendly to business, big money will let him keep the seat.  The state and national party has left us for dead just about every time since his narrow win.  And, no prominent Lansing-area politicians want to take the risk.  I truly believe had Dianne Byrum run again in 2008, she would have made this competitive.

BTW, Kerry Bentivolio is example #1 of why you should run someone in every district.  Of course, we're talking a Republican primary, mostly, but this is a general example of not knowing what's going to happen.  There are more "accidental" congressmembers than people think.

Anything can happen.  Anything.

[ Parent ]
Bolger too
We all remember how his antics made a cakewalk into a race.

As I recall, his opponent wasn't planning on mounting much of a campaign. I'm not sure he would've won if he had been planning a campaign, but in a bluer district, I doubt Bolger would've escaped.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Farmer, I think his name was.  A total "Some Dude" if you ever saw one.  I'm not sure of the exact math, but I'd think if Obama had been able to pull in to get an even ten margin over Romney (instead of the 9.5% margin I think he got), Bolger would have been gone even in his red district.  And, weren't there like a handful of other state house districts where the margin was less than five?  We certainly did leave a few on the table.

Yeah, but Bolger's opponent is another great example of why you should run someone in every race, if even just as a placeholder.

[ Parent ]

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