Current Rep - Bruce Rendon (R - Lake City)
GOP - Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City)
Dem - Lon Johnson (D-Grayling)
Update - 5-27-2012 - Did Rendon tick off people in Ogemaw County? Three challengers are from there, along with Grayling's Lon Johnson was placed in the new district from redistricting. I'm still calling this a tossup due to tradition, although I don't see that Sheltrown name this time.
Update 8-30-2012 - Rendon and Johnson won their primaries easily.
Old District (103rd)
Bruce Rendon - 19,930
Van Sheltrown - 11,958
I consider an 8000 vote spread against a Sheltrown an aberration. I know Van isn't Joel or Dale, but the dems were massacred in districts like the old 103rd in 2010. Bigtime. Redistricting changed this district a bit making it more friendly to Republicans, although I can't call it safe. It also may have conceded the 106th which I think is an absolutely awfully drawn district. I'd rather have had a district similar to the old 103rd which is tough but winnable since Joel and Dale Sheltrown are termed out. Joel and Dale dominated the district. Van was blasted. Either he didn't sell, or it was just a bad year. I think Joel would have survived a 2010.
Bruce Rendon ran in 2004 for the open seat and lost to Joel Sheltrown despite Bush winning the district by a good margin. There's no shame in that. The old district covered Iosco, Roscommon, Ogemaw, and Missaukee Counties. Iosco, Roscommon, and Ogemaw are swing counties with slight "Barcia democrat" leanings. Missaukee County is the 2nd most Republican county in the state by percentage, except that it voted for Joel Sheltrown twice. The new district dropped Iosco county and replaced it with Crawford and Kalkaska counties which lean Republican but occasionally support Stupak type democrats. Kalkaska is a very rural area between Acme/Traverse City and Grayling. Crawford County, also very rural, is Grayling and Frederic and known for Camp Grayling and fishing/canoeing with the Au Sable River. The general area district (Ogemaw County area, not Crawford) was held by democrats for at least 18 years before Rendon finally won it. That's despite McCain winning the old district. Obama's numbers aren't the ceiling here. Barcia and Stupak run much better.
I included the 2004 numbers which was Rendon vs Joel Sheltrown. If the dems have another candidate on that level, they have a shot at this one in 2012. As such, I'm still considering this a swing district despite Kalkaska and Crawford Counties being better for downticket Republicans. There's a good dem base in Skidway Lake and St Helen, along with many other swing voters throughout the whole district.
I'm keeping a close eye on this one.
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