Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Netroots: MI-07 Competitive in 2008

I've been saying for a long time (even before Tim Walberg defeated Joe Schwarz in the primary) that MI-07 could be won by a Democrat under the right conditions, and 2006 has shown that against Tim Walberg, it's a serious pick-up opportunity. But then, I'm just one blogger. I can't speak for the entire netroots.

Then there's Michigan Liberal, whose contributors have shown considerable interest in making this seat competitive. Still, though, I can only claim that the Michigan netroots think the race could be competitive in 2008, and really only a portion of that group.

But now, as Democratic activists across the country begin looking for ways to solidify the newly-won Democratic majorities, more and more eyes are turning toward Michigan's 7th Congressional District.

Take Democraticavenger, who, at MyDD and elsewhere, has compiled a list of the top 50 targets for 2008. Can you guess which race is number 1? I'll give you a hint: it's currently held by a freshman Republican who defeated a popular moderate in a primary, holds radically conservative positions, and only won because of substantial out-of-state support. That's right-- MI-07 is the top pick-up opportunity listed!

And then there's Predictor at DailyKos. He lists the 35 closest Republican-won districts [UPDATE: My mistake-- 35 closest, both Democratic and Republican] in the country, noting that "the purpose of this Diary is more from a Statistical/Tactical Perspective for 2008." What race snuck in at number 34? Once again, MI-07.

Some might argue that two diaries is hardly an overwhelming wave of support for targeting the district, and that would be correct. But it's only a month and a half after the last election, and already, people around the country agree that the district ought to be competitive. Imagine what people will be saying when they all see Tim Walberg in action!

In 2006, the district was virtually ignored by everyone out of state until the last minute, when netroots support (and even DCCC support) might not have been enough to tip the race for Sharon Renier, with the Club for Growth already active in the district. In 2008, expect a lot more attention and a lot more support.

The next two years will be interesting.

Labels: ,

Renier and Walberg are both extremists in their party. Both are willing to attack members of their own party for not being conservative/liberal enough and "beholden" to special interests yet they both have radical views on the fringes of the mainstream. Either would have been a poor choice, but Renier would have worked hard for everyone in the district. Walberg will not. There is a big company near his hometown which gave him a ton of campaign funds and they are cutting jobs. Walberg wants to cut education funding, social security, give tax dollars to religious schools and parents of homeschoolers, and he promises to follow our President blindly into war. He is unqualified. So was Renier.

I see a catch-22 emerging for 2008. If the democrats put up a top-tier candidate, it could embolden Joe Schwarz to run again and could energize the republicans to rally behind a viable, middle of the road candidate who is qualified and can win a tough November election. I fear we will again be stuck with 2 unqualified, extremist choices, but one of hte parties just might suprise me.
Fitzy, I'm really excited that MI-07 is getting so much early attention from the national netroots. You've already got a big leg up on what we're trying to accomplish with Mike Rogers. This makes your blog all the more important, so keep up the great work! As long as Walberg stays on the radar, it could mean big bucks from the netroots for WHOMEVER the democratic nominee is in 2008.
I don't expect the GOP to move anywhere back toward the middle. The entire middle has been taken over by moderate Democrats and I don't think the GOP will be anywhere near a majority again for the next ten years because of this. Until the GOP learns to embrace moderates, it's the party of the past.
2010 will be a watershed year for Michigan. Michigan will lose a congressional seat because of population decline and I think the 7th will be Gerrymandered to become part of Kalamazoo, which is more reflective of the district. Hillsdale and Lenawee county will be part of the East Michigan area once again, they have little in common with anyone West of 127.
I agree, the Suburbs of Ann Arbor and the City of Battle Creek have few of the same interests. If any district is cut up, it will be the 7th. The same goes for Eaton County, it has nothing in common with Branch County, the economies are vastly different. This CD made no sense when it was re-districted before, and it would definately make sense to redistrict CD07 into non-existence.
I agree with anonymous #1's assessment regarding extremists and I really think that Schwarz is the only one who can win this election from the "left". When it comes down to it the near unanimity in the voters of Lenawee and Hillsdale really outweigh any gains from A2 suburbs, inner-Jackson or Battle Creek. I think for the Dems to win this they would need a very conservative Democrat like Brad Ellsworth in Indiana who just won. More left-leaning people might not be thrilled with this, but they need to remember anything is better than Walberg and a Democrat gets us more power.
I recently heard from some friends in DC that Walberg is already on the House Ethics radar.

Apparently, he sent out invitations for the swearing in on Congressional stationery (he's not a Congressman yet) and he used his campaign staff to do it. A very basic and flagrant violation of House rules on mixing campaign and House staff.

If he can't deal with the "basics" in DC he's in for a rough ride.

Fortunatly, he's a man of principle and morality and above petty rules and policy. I'm sure Pelosi will turn the other cheek because he's such a person of high character.

Boy, will this be a fun two years to watch!
In 1996, Democrat Kim Tunnicliff garnered 43% against then Rep. Nick Smith (55%). Now that was considered somewhat monumental for Democrats because Smith was a sophomore member. Tunnicliff even carried Calhoun if I remember right.

Conventional wisdom holds that freshmen members are always the most vulnerable. Since Democrats did not run a soul in 1992, and a place-holder in 1994, Smith had a free pass.

Tunnicliff's result is still the best showing by a Democrat in the 7th in a presidential year.

This year, Renier beat Tunnicliff's mark, but didn't carry a county. Renier did benefit from the Democratic deluge this year. What we did see is that lots of folks split their tickets. Of the two radicals, the picked the better financed one.

I do think a moderate, well financed Democrat could defeat Walberg in '08, but they have to make a dent in the southern counties to achieve this. These counties have been every liberal's kryptonite in elections.As long as the Democrats field poorly financed and polished candidates, they deserve the poor showings.

As for 2010 redistricting, the way the population trends are going, I see a south central district with more of Lansing than Kalamazoo or Ann Arbor. When the legislature adopted the Apol standards, it made all districting 1. more compact and 2. more predictable. Look for the eastern and northern districts to be adjusted.
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home


August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008