Recent races out of state seem to suggest that there will be yet another Democratic wave this November - bad news for two GOP incumbents. And primary challengers are making the race more interesting for two Detroit Dems.
Before we get to the rankings, let me give new readers a bit of a backstory on how these work. If you've seen this before, feel free to skip below.
The Capitol Journal's rating system lists races as either "Safe", "Likely", "Lean" or "Toss-up". It is important to note that these ratings are based on the likelihood that the political party currently holding the seat will win the election. These ratings will be updated whenever developments in the race prompt them to be changed. The metrics have been slightly updated, and are explained in full below.
A safe incumbent is one who has either a dominant history in past elections, has no declared major party challenger or has a sizable edge in both fundraising and the polls over their challenger. This person would not lose the election unless a major electoral wave swept them out.
A likely incumbent race is one where the incumbent is favored, but faces a challenger likely to force the race within 10 points. A lean incumbent race features an incumbent facing a challenger likely to force the race within 5 points. A toss-up race is too close to call. A lean challenger race means a challenger is favored by less than 5 points.
Since we rate the incumbent's chances of retention, rather than the party control of the seat, a seat can be listed as vulnerable even if it has no chance of switching parties this November. With all that said: on to the rankings.
- Pete Hoekstra (R), 2nd District
- Vern Ehlers (R), 3rd District
- Dave Camp (R), 4th District
- Dale Kildee (D), 5th District
- Fred Upton (R), 6th District
- Mike Rogers (R), 8th District
- Candice Miller (R), 10th District
- Thaddeus McCotter (R), 11th District
- Sander Levin (D), 12th District
- John Dingell (D), 15th District
- Bart Stupak (D), 1st District. Stupak faces what will be a well-funded challenge from State Rep. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba this November. Casperson is a phenomenal campaigner, and he has won in a district he shouldn't have before. There are two other Republicans in the primary, though I expect Casperson to win the primary with ease. (No Change)
- John Conyers (D), 14th District. Conyers has pulled a primary challenge from well-known Detroit pastor Horace Sheffield, so this may be interesting. No chance this seat changes parties in November, though. (Formerly Safe Incumbent)
- Carolyn Kilpatrick (D), 13th District. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's mom faces a tough challenge from State Sen. Martha Scott and former state Rep. Mary Waters. Both are avowed Kilpatrick foes, though one wonders if they'll split the vote or if one will drop out before the race. Certainly Waters and Scott are hoping to pull votes from the same constituency. Whichever Dem wins the primary should win in November. (Formerly Safe Incumbent)
- Joe Knollenberg (R), 9th District. Former State Sen. Gary Peters is a viable candidate and all the momentum is against the GOP. While few seem to be enthusiastic Peters fanatics, he's been powerful enough to clear what was to be a competitive primary field. In another year, Knollenberg might be safe, but national trends are against him. (Formerly Lean Incumbent)
- Tim Walberg (R), 7th District. Do the math: Sharon Renier, an organic farmer, held Walberg to under 50 percent in 2006, despite raising very little money. She's in again, but the story here is State Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer, who has the money and the backing to do well. Need proof? He's out-raising Walberg right now. In a bad year for the GOP, this is exactly the sort of district that switches hands. (Formerly Toss-up)
Update: 5/16, 5:23 p.m.: Sheffield dropped out, so throw the 14th District back in the safe category.