5 things to watch in every state: Michigan

Michigan, in 2008 and 2012, was a state that John McCain and Mitt Romney thought that they could win.  Donald Trump is banking on an ability to be able to win Michigan that he is spending precious time there.  I remain unconvinced, as the state is leaning to the left more and more.

  1. U.S. House of Representatives, Michigan’s 1st Congressional District: This is listed in Sabato’s Crystal Ball as a Toss Up for a Republican District.  This is an open district as Dan Benishek (Republican) decided not to run for re-election.  He won re-election in 2012 y a small amount, less than 2,000 votes out of over 347,000 votes cast.  In 2014, a more Republican year, Benishek won again, this time defeating Democratic Party candidate Jerry Cannon by 17,000 votes.  The Democratic nominee in this district is Lon Johnson who is leading the Republican Jack Bergman in fundraising for the district.  There is both a Libertarian and Green Party Candidate running for the seat.  In 2014, the Libertarian candidate received 3,823 votes which was 600 votes more than Green Party Candidate so it would seem like it would help the Democratic challenger more than the Republican.
  2. U.S. House of Representatives, Michigan’s 7th Congressional District: Republican incumbent Tim Walberg is running for re-election and is facing Democratic candidate Gretchen Driskell.  Walberg won re-election in 2012 with 53.3% of the vote beating Democratic challenger Kurt Haskell by 33,000 votes.  Somewhat surprisingly, Walberg did worse in 2014 by vote margin over his Democratic challenger.  He won 2014 by 27,000 votes.  He was hurt, in part by a Libertarian candidate and a U.S. Tax Payers Party candidate.  In 2016, Walberg does have a third party spoiler in Ken Proctor, a Libertarian Party candidate to help Driskell out, if possible.  If Gary Johnson can do well enough to get down party voters for Ken Proctor, the Libertarian Party candidate, then this district is going to be put in play.  I’m not sure how good Johnson is going to do.  I think Driskell needs a lot more help to be able to win the district.
  3. U.S. House of Representatives, Michigan’s 8th Congressional District: In 2012, Republican incumbent Mike Robers won re-election with 58.6% of the vote.  He won the race by over 20 points and 74,000 votes.  Rogers did not run for re-election in 2014.  The Republican candidate Mike Bishop won the election in 2014 with 54.6% of the vote with 30,000 votes more than Democrat Eric Schertzing.  Bishop is running for re-election in the district.  The Democratic candidate is Suzanna Shkreli.  Hurting her chances in the district are a Greeen Party candidate and potentially a Natural law candidate.  Shkreli would need a lot of help to be able to unseat Bishop and it doesn’t look like it is shaping up to be of much help.
  4. Michigan State House of Representatives 71st District: The Republican Party hodls the majority in the Stte House of Representativs.  The district is currently represented by Republican Tom Barrett.  He is running in a rematch facing former incumbent Theresa Abed.  Abed won in 2012 over the Republican incumbent.  Abed won by 3,000 votes in 2012.  In 2014, Abed ran for re-election.  Barrett defeated Abed in that election by a total of 148 votes.  Abed is having a rematch in a Presidential year, which should help her.  Also helping her, is the fact that there is a Libertarian candidate on the ballot in Marc Lord.  That should be enough to give the election to Abed.
  5. Michigan State House of Representatives 91st District: this is an election that is more or less the same election in the district that has been there since 2012. In 2012, Democrat Collene Lamonte defeated the Republican incumbent Holly Hughes by 333 votes.  Lamonte was helped by the Libertarian candidate Nick Sundquist being on the ballot.  Hughes was itching for a rematch in 2014 (note: no idea if this is true).  She was able to defeat Lamonte in 2014 by 53 votes.  There was an independent candidate Alan Jager on the ballot who received 1,959 votes.  An interesting tidbit is that in both 2012 and 2014 the winner did not win a majority of the votes. In 2016, we have another matchup of Lamonte vs Hughes with a Libertarian candidate on the ballot, as well. It seems like this should favor Lamonte in being to take back her seat.