Jim Slezak switching surprises me based on the partisan makeup of this district, although he was probably not all that popular with the establishment democrats there taking out Hammel in the primary.
From Flint Journal
GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan — Former state Rep. Jim Slezak said he's confident of receiving support when he runs as a Republican in 2012 for U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee's seat, and the county's party chairwoman agrees.
Rep. Jim Slezak will run for U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee's seat as a Republican in 2012.
“I looked at the priorities of the national Democrats and the president. There hasn’t been any real leadership right now or vision of the problems Michigan, and especially Flint, is facing,” he said of his decision to change parties.
“In the past, even now and in the future, I am willing to work for everyone. I am not going to work for one person and not another. I don’t think we’re doing that right now.”
Slezak, a 45-year-old Davison Townshi resident, said he mulled over the decision with his wife and family before making the switch.
He won the 50th District state House seat in 2008, but Slezak was defeated during the August 2010 Democratic primary by Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko for the 26th District state Sentate position which was later won by Republican Dave Robertson.
I don't know if Slezak will get past the GOP primary, but even if he does, this district is a longshot. Even in 2010, Dale Kildee received slightly over 53%, winning by almost 18,000 votes (with 6000 going to 3rd parties). The top of the ticket is normally close to 60%.
Any GOP nominee would have to have to run the table to win here. It would take a year like 1994 or 2010 AND there needs to be some fallout from the primary on the democrats. The nominee would have to be an unacceptable candidate. The names I'm hearing right now for the dems are Jim Barcia or Dan Kildee (nephew of Dale?). Kildee has won countywide for smaller offices. Barcia is a congressman who runs ahead of the ticket. Barcia would probably win this district easily. Kildee would probably have to deal with some nepotism claims, but does have some record of his own. He'd be tough to beat. I'd like to see two or three more democrats run in and muck this thing up. That could give whoever the GOP nominee is an opening for a Scott Brown type of upset. If someone who is a poor campaigner, uberleftist on social issues and is elitist, and/or has a bunch of scandals squeaks with the nomination, there's a chance. Hopefully Don Williamson runs.
It will be an interesting primary, to see what happens. My money is on the dems, but people can beat themselves in districts like this. Don Sherwood did it for the GOP. Dan Rostenkowski did it in a more democrat district than this back in 94.