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Virg is not running for Congress

by: Eric B.

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 16:39:49 PM EDT

The other day, America's Shoutiest Mayor was mad that people were taking steps to push him out of a race they didn't want him in. So he said that the decision whether he'd run for Mike Rogers' Congressional seat would be made in the 8th District, not in Washington. Then, the decision was made in the 8th District and that decision was that America's Shoutiest Mayor wouldn't run. He made his announcement on Facebook earlier today.

The DCCC polled this district, I guess. Mark Grebner has his own feelings, and I'll share them.

But Grebner downplays the optimism that this will be a highly competitive race with the incumbent out. Republicans redrew the district in their favor after the 2010 census, for one, he said. Secondly, Grebner disputes that the district gives Republicans a narrow advantage based on the makeup of voters. Averaging results based on the last four elections — when Democrats had three “blowouts” in other statewide races — makes the district seem marginal, he said. “It’s not marginal. It would be if Democrats have a blowout year. But no, we’re not going to.”

So, when the Democrats fail to take this district, be sure to blame Mark Grebner for not being properly bullish.

Eric B. :: Virg is not running for Congress
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I think it will be a tough seat to pickup however it's possible
What Mark is not considering is that the Democrats ran very marginal candidates against Rogers since he beat Diane Byrum to gain the 8th CD seat.  I do agree that it would be a tough pickup but I think that it's possible with the right candidate to make this a competitive race. And who knows how the GOP candidates will appeal to the voters?  Grebner sounds like we should just give up and roll over.  BS - we should contest this seat as a possible pickup opportunity. Am hoping that Barb Byrum got some good news from the DCCC regarding support - that's the other problem that there has been in the 8th.

Another consideration...
Putting up Barb Byrum against the Republicans in the 8th CD will also force the GOP to spend money there and in the big picture nationally that's helpful to the Democratic cause. It's a good thing if they have to defend another GOP House seat in Michigan, even if it's an uphill fight for the Democrats. I can't speak to how Barb Byrum is thinking about this, but I see little downside to contesting the race.  

[ Parent ]
Exactly and moreover
Base numbers are good to know but they aren't the end all be all.  These calculations are based on ed board voting - a competitive Congressional race with a solid cross-over appeal candidate goes beyond just the base numbers calculation.  With Barb running there is a large enough persuadable universe to make the 8th winnable (even if worst case the DPI is 45).

The real loser in this will probably be whoever wins the clown-car primary in the 11th. As I doubt there are enough resources to really contest 4 Congressional races and the base numbers in the 11th are so skewed they do make it hard to overcome (best case the DPI is 42).

[ Parent ]
Marc Corriveau and Terry Brown would like to have a word with those who think they can deem a seat as being out of reached based on base numbers alone. Both of those gents' districts were/are in the low 40s. Plenty of other great examples.  

[ Parent ]
Actually, I don't worry about actual Congressional results.
When I think about a district's leanings, I really only consider two things:  which way the political winds are blowing, and the district's underlying partisan split.

It's my guess, right now, that the statewide Democratic percentage of the two-party vote for bottom of ticket education posts will be about 49%.  That's not based on polling, or science, or some complicated econometric model; it's a guess. I think 2014 is shaping up to be better for the Democrats than 2010 was, but not as good as 2006.  Kind of half-way between 1998 (Fieger at the top of the ticket) and 2002 (Granholm).  Thus, 49% Democratic statewide baseline.

Second, I try to estimate how a given district compares to that statewide baseline.  Here, I use arithmetic, comparing the district's previous showings (using its current boundaries, not the boundaries used before the 2010 Census) which make CD8 out to be about five or six points more Republican that Michigan as a whole.  That suggests we'll see a baseline of about 43% or 44% this year in CD8.

Finally, I calculate a somewhat artificial quantity I call "required strength among ticket-splitters".  I assume that people who cast either Democratic or Republican ballots for bottom-of-ticket partisan candidates really aren't persuadable as long as their party puts up a plausible candidate.  (This assumption isn't quite in accord with reality, but it happens to work well in practice.)  Since in CD8 I expect the Republican candidate to run 12 or 14 percentage points ahead of the Democrat among the 80% who cast ballots for baseline races, it means the Democrat needs to carry the remaining 20% ("ticket-splitters") by 48 or 56 percentage points in order to make up for the partisan disadvantage.  (In reality, some of these voters also fail to vote in the Congressional race, while a few others are straight-ticket voters who refuse to vote for candidates they've never heard of.  These flaws approximately balance out the people who DO vote for bottom-of-ticket candidates but are nonetheless willing to split their tickets.)

Putting this all together, the Democratic candidate in CD8 will need to take something like 74% or 78% of the vote among people who are willing to split their tickets - a very, very strong showing.

It IS possible to take 75% of the ticket-splitters in an open race, if one candidate is overwhelmingly superior. But to run up such a margin, particularly against an opponent who will be well-funded and professionally managed, would require the Republicans to run somebody whose flaws are at least as severe as Geoff Fieger's were.

[ Parent ]
Great Analysis
The way I look at it is, the Reps did smart gerrymanders this time, taking advantage of the natural packing of Dem voters and the natural spreading of Rep voters to create districts for the US House, the Senate, and the MI House, in which the median district has a basic partisan lean of R+5 or so compared with the state.

Any of the 9 Rep CDs is a heavy lift for the Dems, requiring a good Dem year and a really good Dem candidate. I'd rate CD 8 as pretty similar to 7 and 11 in difficulty for the Dems, and call those 3 the easiest to win.

By the way, by my look, it would be easier for the Reps to win CD 9 in an open-seat situation than it would be for the Dems to win 7,8, or 11.

[ Parent ]
Which is possibly why Sandy Levin isn't joining his little bro' in retirement
If Sandy sticks for one more term, then the 9th in a Presidential year becomes a lot safer bet for a Democratic hold.

But let's not forget that the 1st District is also considered "in play," and Democrats have a strong candidate (at least on paper) to upset the very weak Rep. Dan Benishek.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
If he doesn't make it in 2014,
I hope Cannon sticks with it for 2016 as well. Same for Pam Byrnes. They may be laying the groundwork for a win next time (although obviously aiming for a win this time).

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
Obama beat Romney by 16 in the 9th
...according to this. That's twice Romney's margin in the 4th - and 5 times Romney's margin in the 8th.

That's a presidential result, though - I'm not sure how to find the actual partisan leanings of the district.

Either way, it's the kind of seat that Dems will want to be careful not to take for granted whenever it does open up. His retirement this year might have caused an extra (and unneeded) distraction.

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

[ Parent ]
When Big Brother Retires in 2016...
...who do you locals see going after the seat?

Will the field clear for son Andy, who was living in the 9th, in Bloomfield Township, last I knew.

Or does this seat revert to Macomb?

[ Parent ]
Current Dem. elected officials...
...who represent part of this district are (House: Townsend, Lipton, Haugh, Switalski, Roberts, Yanez, and Marilyn Lane; Senate: Bieda).

I've always thought this would be a very interesting race to watch unfold when Sander does retire. The way it is drawn could even persuade some candidates from just outside of it (especially in the Macomb County part to move in).

With Hackel constantly talking about his Governor aspirations, I don't think he would run for it. I could definitely see Andy Levin making a run for it (although I'd prefer some new blood). Of all the officials I listed above, I could really see any one of them running for it. However, if Lipton wins the Senate, most of it would be outside of this congressional district so she would have a tough time. Bieda would be in the middle of his 2nd term so wouldn't have to risk losing his seat, Townsend, Roberts, and Lane will all be finishing up in the House in 2 years. (Switalski and Haugh are done this year).

Personally I think Townsend and Switalski would both have a very good chance in this district. However, someone like Frank Houston, OCDP chair could be a wild card.  

[ Parent ]
Of all the ones you list, I'd support Townsend
My next choice would be Lipton.  Both would be good candidates and representatives.  As for Frank Houston, he ran for the seat currently occupied by Townsend four years ago.  I voted for him in the primary then and I'd vote for him again if he ran.

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

[ Parent ]
that Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner lives in that district -- and once worked as a congressional staffer for Levin.

Gilda Jacobs also lives in the district.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
In other words, we have a deep bench here
That's good to know.

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

[ Parent ]

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