Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 14, 2014

Congressional primary races fill up for open seats

LANSING (AP) — Four Michigan representatives will exit the U.S. House in January, leaving their congressional seats with wide open races after years of stability.

Democratic Rep. John Dingell and Republican Reps. Mike Rogers and Dave Camp are retiring from Congress. Democratic Rep. Gary Peters is leaving the House to run to replace Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, who’s also retiring. Democrats and Republicans are expected to keep their seats, but primary fights are brewing in all but Dingell’s district. Less than two weeks before the April 22 filing deadline, the fields could get more crowded.

The races in Camp and Rogers’ districts look similar, with a few Republicans declared in each race, many other Republican possibilities and limited Democratic options.

“The fact that there is no credible candidate tells you that the Democrats have done their own research and have determined that it’s highly improbable that a Democrat can win,” said Ed Sarpolus, a nonpartisan political analyst and executive director of Target-Insyght.

Democratic turnout is typically low in midterm election years, and there’s no indication Democratic governor candidate Mark Schauer could draw a wide enough voter margin to combat that trend in Republican-leaning districts, Sarpolus said.

Camp gave potential successors little time to consider running for the 4th District when he said he wouldn’t seek re-election on March 31. He was term-limited as chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, and his decision was somewhat expected. He won with 63 percent of the vote in 2012.

State Sen. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, jumped into the race the next day, and Paul Mitchell, a Saginaw County businessman, announced his bid on Monday. Roscommon County businessman Peter Konetchy had said in July he would challenge Camp for the Republican ticket.

John Barker of Isabella County is the only Democrat who has declared.

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