Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 3/31/14…Mike Rogers’ retirement opens up a potentially swingy House seat

Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by David Nir

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Leading Off:

 MI-08: Seven-term Republican Rep. Mike Rogers announced on Friday that he’s retiring to pursue a career in radio broadcasting. Rogers will host a nationally syndicated show starting in January, and as Jed Lewison points out, he’s long been a media creature: Rogers has been the most frequent congressional guest of any on the Sunday talk shows for the past two years, more popular even than John McCain.

The district that Rogers leaves behind, Michigan’s 8th, stretches from Lansing in the west to the outer Detroit metropolitan area in the east. It’s also theoretically swingy, on paper: It went for Mitt Romney 51-48, but Barack Obama beat John McCain here 52-46. Democrats, however, haven’t seriously challenged Rogers since his very first election, when the district was several points bluer, and the GOP bench is much deeper here.

What’s more, the fundamentals favor Republicans this year, if for no other reason than the familiar problem of Democratic voters turning out in smaller proportions during midterm elections as opposed to presidential years. For these reasons, we’re moving this race from Safe Republican to Lean Republican, reflecting the advantage the GOP has. However, it’s still very early and candidate chatter has only just begun, so the quality of each side’s recruitment efforts may change our outlook.

And it may be a while before we get a sense of the playing field. As is typically the case when a seat like this opens up, the Great Mentioner has sprung into high gear, and one Republican, Rochester Mayor Bryan Barnett, has already announced a bid. As for everyone else, here’s the most comprehensive roundup of potential candidates available:

Republicans:Former state GOP chair Saul Anuzis (“looking at” it)
Ex-state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (“never say never“)
Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard
Ex-state House Speaker Craig DeRoche
State Sen. Gail Haines
State Sen. Joe Hune (will “look strongly” at it)
State Sen. Rick Jones
State Sen. Jim Marleau
State Rep. Bill Rogers (Mike’s brother, who is term-limited)

Democrats:Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum (“seriously considering it“)
State Rep. Sam Singh (considering, per spokesman)
Lansing Board of Education President Peter Spadafore (something “to think about“)

Three Democrats have already apparently said no: state Senate Minority LeaderGretchen Whitmer, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, and former state Sen. Dianne Byrum, who is Barb Byrum’s mother and almost beat Rogers in 2000 when this seat was last open. (Bernero seems to be hedging, though, saying “I intend to continue serving the people of Lansing.”) As always, we’ll keep following all developments as they unfold…..

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