Dave Camp retired and opened up this seat. This seat should stay Republican with the strongest possible dems not running (Sheltrown brothers). Peter Konetchy is a businessman from Roscommon. Paul Mitchell is a businessman from Saginaw Twp. John Moolenaar is a . Jeff Holmes is a sacrificial lamb from Alma area.
MI-04 Update - 2013
The 2011 Update is here.
Incumbent – OPEN with Dave Camp's retirement.
Years in office as of 2014 election - 24.
Challengers: Peter Konetchy (R-Roscommon), Paul Mitchell (R-Saginaw Twp), John Moolenaar (R-Midland), Jeff Holmes (D-Alma)
Years in office as of 2014 election - 24.
Challengers: Peter Konetchy (R-Roscommon), Paul Mitchell (R-Saginaw Twp), John Moolenaar (R-Midland), Jeff Holmes (D-Alma)
Dave Camp – 197386– 63.07%
Debra Freidell Wirth – 104996 – 33.55%
92390 vote difference
Romney – 171845 votes – 53.42%
Obama – 146081 votes – 45.41%
25764 vote difference.
McCain – 166866 votes – 48.62%
Obama – 170542 votes – 49.70%
-3706 vote difference
Bush – 184141 votes – 55.06%
Kerry – 146294 votes – 43.74%
37847 vote difference
This is a large sprawling district that contains parts of 15 counties. It’s often called a Midland district because it almost always elects Midland reps, but that’s oversimplifying it. Basically Camp gets what’s left of the areas from other districts that need to go elsewhere. This district has Midland, Big Rapids, and Mt Pleasant, farm country, part of Saginaw County, and then takes a little up of Up North, all the way to some of the Lansing area and the rest of Shiawassee County. You can be in East Lansing (Clinton County portion so it wasn’t a split), drive North to the Roscommon/Crawford county line and not leave the district. You can go west to Cadillac at M-55 and still be in the district, go from Byron near the Livingston County line to Cadillac and not leave the district.
New territory for Camp includes Wexford County (GOP), Gladwin and Ogemaw Counties (Swing), Clinton County (Swing/slight GOP), Southern Shiawassee County (Swing), and the Frankenmuth part of Saginaw County (Staunch GOP). This district is safe for Camp, but keep an eye out if one of the Sheltrowns (Joel especially) runs out of Ogemaw County. He’s your Jim Barcia style of pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment (legitimately) democrat that does well up north. That type of democrat could also sell down in Shiawassee County and rural Saginaw County as well. Joel Sheltrown won Missaukee County as a state rep, which is the 2nd most Republican County in the state by percentage – more than Livingston, Hillsdale, Sanilac, or Allegan. Even Levin lost there in 2008, one of six counties. Sheltrown won that county. Luckily for Camp, Sheltrown’s district didn’t have Midland. Midland goes more R downticket than the top of the ticket, especially for homers. A tough state senate district went R in a tougher district against a strong North Michigan pro-2a (legitimately) democrat.
I think Camp is safe unless Sheltrown runs (even there probably almost safe), but an open seat race could be interesting. There’s a strong R bench here – too many to count. There is not a strong D bench outside of the Sheltrown brothers. Mike Huckleberry was a one term state rep out of Greenville, but Camp dispatched him easily twice. Huckleberry lost in 2010 and 2012 for state rep covering Montcalm County. Jennifer Elkins was a dem state rep in 2002, but lost a dem leaning seat (with Arenac and Bay as well as Clare/Gladwin) to Tim Moore in 2004 over her vote on banning gay marriage (voted against putting it on the ballot). Mt Pleasant is blue, but the state rep district still goes R due to candidate quality. It’s a thin bench outside of the Sheltrowns.
For the map, I’ll use the same color code.
70%+Dem – Black
60%-69.99% - Blue
55%-59.99% - Slate Blue
50%-54.99% - Light Sky Blue
Less than 50% - Gold
70%+Rep – Firebrick
60-69.99% - Red
55-59.99% - Orange Red
50-54.99% - Salmon
Less than 50% - Yellow
You start seeing the difference here between the (non coastal yuppie influenced) Northwestern parts of Up North and the “Sunrise” side of Up North. Politically, I’d put Clare and Roscommon with the “sunrise” side culturally compared to Wexford, Osceola, and Missaukee Counties. It’s a little more union influenced, either through retirees, Bay City/Saginaw commuting, some industry, DNR, and corrections. It’s independent and populist. Clare, Gladwin, Roscommon, and Ogemaw Counties can all vote either way. They have a few small “base” yellow dog areas, and a few base strong R areas and a lot in-between. Wexford, Missaukee, and Osceola Counties almost always go R.
Bush and Romney swept Wexford County, although Bush nearly got 60%. Missaukee is the 2nd reddest county in the state by percentage. Five municipalities here broke 70%, two with 80%. Holland Township is the only dem spot here, going so the last three elections by 1, 3, and 1 votes. Osceola isn’t Missaukee County, but Romney swept it nearly getting 60%.
Clare, Roscommon, and Ogemaw Counties are another matter. Romney won them, as did Bush the 2nd time in 2004. Gore and Obama won them as well. Gladwin went for Romney, Obama and Bush twice all narrowly. A lot of areas here are swingy with lots of light blue and salmon. In Roscommon, Au Sable Township’s slate blue and 55.91% is misleading. Romney lost it by 13 votes. (McCain 7). Bush won it. Population size is the factor. On the same note, Richfield Twp (St Helens) is a democrat mini-stronghold there. They usually get a 240 vote margin there or more. Obama was held to 53.43% instead of the 55%+ they often get there. East of there in Ogemaw County (home of the Sheltrowns), Romney did better than Bush by percentage and also won all swing areas except West Branch (lost by 8 votes). The dems have Mills Township (Skidway Lake) which is similar to Richfield, but more blue. It’s consistently 56-57% dem and gives about a 250 vote margin to the dems. I’m not sure why it’s more dem than the rest of the county, but I know there’s a high union retiree population in Ogemaw County. Gladwin County has a high labor population as well, often corrections workers for the prisons in Standish. Interestingly, Gladwin itself is republican. The dems do well in the Eastern part of the county, bordering Arenac (Standish) and Bay Counties. Clare is interesting and hard to figure out. There’s an Amish population there, and that accounts for some of that bright red in the SE part of the county (when they vote). The Harrison area is strongly dem (and City of Clare leans dem). Summerfield Twp stuck out. McCain did well there and held it to 50%. Romney and Bush bombed there. Hayes Township is the usual bad spot (like a Richfield and Mills Twp), but Romney slowed the bleeding there losing by 76 instead of 150+. Those four counties are always competitive, and will be in the future.
Mecosta County is SW of there. It’s borderline considered “Up North” or “Mid Michigan” depending on who you ask. Big Rapids is the home of Ferris State University. It’s blue. The rest of the county is usually red outside of Martiny and Sheridan Townships. Chippewa Township there is moving to the right. Bush lost it. McCain won it. Romney won it with more raw votes than Bush. Romney had less votes than McCain overall though, but did better than McCain and Bush in overall percentage here. 54.25% compared to 49.52% and 53.13%.
Isabella County is the major blue county in the district, but it will vote for some R’s downticket like Dave Camp, the Cauls, and Kevin Cotter. R’s have been lucky with candidate quality in this county. It’s blue because of CMU and to a lesser extent, the Chippewa reservation, although the American Indian population here isn’t as large as it is up in the Eastern UP. Coldwater Township (really bleeding bad there for some reason – Romney did worse than McCain there in votes and percentage) is rural and white, and as democrat as mixed Chippewa Township (heart of the reservation and home of Soaring Eagle Casino). Union Township is to Mt Pleasant what Meridian Township is to East Lansing and is dem for the same reason. Mt Pleasant is the home of CMU and big for the dems. Bush got 40% here. McCain 31.39% Romney 34.27% A real problem spot is Romney getting less raw votes than McCain in the county despite increasing his percentage 5% to 44.78% (still less than Bush’s 48%). Bush lost the county only by 586 votes. Romney slowed the bleeding and didn’t lose by 5500 like McCain did, but a 2239 vote loss is four times worse than Bush’s loss. A lot of areas in this county are swing areas.
Midland County was a bright spot for Romney. That’s not a surprise as it’s a business oriented county, much unlike its neighboring labor oriented counties (Bay/Saginaw). Midland is the home of Dow Chemical, and is a highly educated area. It also prefers the more business oriented Republicans as opposed to a Rick Santorum Republican, although there is a sizable social conservative presence as well. This is the home of the Mackinac Center as well as Gary Glenn. Romney had a higher vote percentage in Midland County than Bush did, although Bush had more votes. There’s some swing areas in the western part of the county (and Mills Twp in the NE), but Romney swept it, which even Bush didn’t do (Coleman).
South of there is Saginaw County. Saginaw County is a blue county, but not all of it is blue. The part in Camp’s district cuts out most of the major blue parts which are in the Eastern Part of the County outside of Frankenmuth. That southern part is farm areas with some labor areas (Chesaning), along with Birch Run, the big outlet mall. It’s historically democrat, but does sometimes vote for R’s. Lew Dodak was from Birch Run. He’s a former state house speaker who was defeated by Mike Goschka who held the swing district and later won countywide (twice) the dem leaning state senate district. Bush came close in some of these areas and won St Charles Twp, and nearly took Chesaning.The tourist town of Frankemuth aka Little Bavaria is a small GOP stronghold in the Eastern part of the county. It was settled by Christian missionaries and is to this day heavily ethnic German. It’s most known for Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland open all year, its chicken at Zehnder’s, the Bavarian Inn, and Oktoberfest which is actually sanctioned by Munich. It’s 70%+ GOP. The NW suburban and semi rural areas are solidly Republican, some of them 60%+. Part of it is Midland. Part of it is a countermeasure to the City of Saginaw.
Gratiot County was rough the last two cycles. Bush won everything in the county, even Alma (home of a small college). He got 56.59%. McCain lost the county and got 46.92%. Romney won it with 51.39% but had lessvotes than McCain. Alma (precinct 3) was a big hit, but Romney lost Ithaca, St Louis, and Sumner Twp. In addition, he has a lower percentage of the vote than McCain in Hamilton and Lafayette Townships. Those were 60%+ under Bush and Romney was held to 55% and 54%. (56% and 57% for McCain). There’s trouble here. The college is part of it. I wonder if ethanol is a big part of it. Alma shouldn’t impact Ithaca, although it would impact St Louis.
Montcalm County was Camp’s toughest county a few years back when Mike Huckleberry ran twice. Camp won it by 500 votes in the dismal year of 2006. Greenville is the dem leaning area here. It’s the former home of Electrolux until that closed up and moved to Mexico. Belvidere Twp up in the northern part of the county has also gone dem three times. Bush won Stanton and next door Evergreen Township. Carson City is becoming a problem. Romney did worse than McCain there. The rest of the county leans R, with the areas off US-131 (Kent County influenced) the most R.
Clinton County just north of Lansing I know well. It is a spot to keep an eye on. It was an R stronghold for years, but the alarms started to ring a little in 2002. State workers caused a weaker R showing than 2000. 2004 was a good year there with Bush. Kerry did not sell there at all. 58.16% Bush. He only lost East Lansing and Bath (by 3 votes). He only got less that 55% in DeWitt Twp. Obama won the county in 08 with 49.57%. That was unheard of there. McCain bombed, but Obama cleaned up in Bath Twp took a few other townships as well. Romney won Clinton County, but only with 52.56%. Bath Twp borders East Lansing (Mostly in Ingham County). If you drive down Abbot Rd north after it turns into Chandler Rd, you see a bunch of new high rises. Those are student apartments. That turned Bath into a blue zone. ¼ of it is now basically East Lansing. Bush won it in 2000, lost it narrowly in 04, and Obama got 57.61% and 54.89% there. DeWitt is getting bluer, but it’s purple more than blue. The same goes for the other eastern parts of Clinton County. On the other hand, Dallas Township (Fowler) and Westphalia Township stick out. I’m not sure why they are that red of a township (77/78%) compared to others (not just in Clinton County). German Catholics settled Westphalia. Dallas Township I’m not sure about, but probably a similar background. Could be a Dutch influence as well. A lot of those free soil areas are still R, but rarely 70%+. Lebanon Twp almost broke 70% as well. Surprisingly, the townships in Ionia bordering them aren’t nearly as Republican. One of them is blue North Plains. This is a key county to watch in the future and important to statewide chances.
Last but not least, one of my neighbors. Shiawassee County. It’s a swing county with a conservadem history, but one I never figured out. It’s whiter than my county (famous/infamous for it). It’s not what I’d call social liberal. It’s largely a bedroom community for Flint and Lansing, two areas which have commuters from my county. It has its farm areas. It votes much differently however. Bush won it twice, the first time under 50% and later with 52.86%. After 04, I thought that like Lapeer County, it was starting to go our way. 08 wasn’t a big shock, but 12 surprised me here. Romney had less raw votes than McCain (percentage went from 44.67% to 47.53%). I don’t expect it to be a Livingston County with Durand and Owosso, but I don’t see any reason why this can’t be a solid 53-55% county for us each election. A lot of Bush areas here went for Obama twice. Perry (city) and New Haven Twp were 57% Bush and flipped. Durand’s always been the toughest area (GM commuters), and Owosso’s a labor area as well. Outside of the Livingston County border, that whole eastern part of the county is trouble right now, as is the Laingsburg and Perry areas (State workers). Flint’s influence is creeping in again. R’s are still winning downticket there, which wasn’t the case for 20+ years until the 90’s (for state rep). There’s still a lot of work there to be done.
Overall this district leans R and is safe for Camp. Geography is the biggest advantage for the R’s here. Midland is a solid base, as is the NW part of the district and parts of Saginaw County. Clinton County has also been solid R downticket, and even dem leaning Isabella County has R state reps. Those are all good bases to run from, and should keep this in the R column if Camp retires. Sheltrown would be a tough opponent, but that’s the only realistic threat I can see at this time (last three words key). If the Isabella County seat flips, then there is more potential trouble on the horizon.
|New Haven Twp||209||189||402||20||51.99%||47.01%|
|North Shade Twp||174||85||261||89||66.67%||32.57%|
|North Star Twp||245||198||448||47||54.69%||44.20%|
|Pine River Twp||584||525||1125||59||51.91%||46.67%|
|Big Rapids Twp||985||685||1686||300||58.42%||40.63%|
|Mount Haley Twp||478||369||859||109||55.65%||42.96%|
|Clam Union Twp||389||84||477||305||81.55%||17.61%|
|West Branch Twp||129||79||209||50||61.72%||37.80%|
|Maple Valley Twp||531||307||859||224||61.82%||35.74%|
|West Branch Twp||740||508||1266||232||58.45%||40.13%|
|Le Roy Twp||339||193||545||146||62.20%||35.41%|
|Middle Branch Twp||211||133||352||78||59.94%||37.78%|
|Rose Lake Twp||433||212||648||221||66.82%||32.72%|
|Au Sable Twp||58||71||127||-13||45.67%||55.91%|
|Saginaw County (part)|
|Birch Run Twp||1711||1459||3208||252||53.34%||45.48%|
|Maple Grove Twp||686||789||1494||-103||45.92%||52.81%|
|Saginaw Twp 13||844||905||1768||-61||47.74%||51.19%|
|Saginaw Twp 14||865||703||1579||162||54.78%||44.52%|
|Saginaw Twp 15||434||249||685||185||63.36%||36.35%|
|Saginaw Twp 16||1067||782||1865||285||57.21%||41.93%|
|St Charles Twp||740||774||1533||-34||48.27%||50.49%|
|Swan Creek Twp||820||535||1368||285||59.94%||39.11%|
|New Haven Twp||350||384||739||-34||47.36%||51.96%|
|Cedar Creek Twp||431||274||713||157||60.45%||38.43%|
|Cherry Grove Twp||865||549||1431||316||60.45%||38.36%|
|Clam Lake Twp||814||557||1384||257||58.82%||40.25%|
|South Branch Twp||116||85||206||31||56.31%||41.26%|