• Schuyler Beltrami

2022 Midterms Preview –Michigan


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The Millennial Agora continues our complete preview of the upcoming midterm elections for Congress with the state of Michigan. A state of just over 10 million people, Michigan is the 10th most populated state in the entire country, with a large part of the population centered around the Detroit metropolitan area. The state has been a swing-state in recent elections, with a split between Democratic urban voters and more Republican-leaning rural and suburban voters. The state was one of many upper Midwest states which voted for former President Trump in 2016, but switched to supporting President Biden in 2020 (Biden won Michigan by a margin of 3%, 51%-48%). Before former President Trump’s close victory in 2016 (by 0.2%), the state had last voted for a Republican for president in 1988. In 2022, there will be elections in Michigan for the House of Representatives and Governor. Michigan is allocated 13 seats in the House, a decrease of one seat after redistricting. Currently seven seats are occupied by Democrats and seven by Republicans.


House of Representatives

Michigan receives 13 seats in the House of Representatives and all seats will be up for election in November. The overall CVPI for the entire state is R+1, making Michigan’s House races (taken as a whole) to be toss-ups which have a slight lean for the Republicans. (The CPVI, or Cook Partisan Voting Index, is the main metric to measure the strength of a political party for a particular House district or Senate seat. The measure was created and managed by the non-partisan Cook Political Report and uses historical data, as well as polling, to create the “partisan lean” of each district or state. A CPVI rating of R+15 would mean that on average, Republican candidates win elections in that district or state by an average of 15%, while a rating of D+15 would mean the same thing, but for the Democratic candidate. A district or state with a CPVI with double digits is considered to be non-competitive). 10*2, 9*1


I. MI-01:

A. Current Representative: Jack Bergman (R)

B. Population Distribution: Mostly Rural, Some Urban Areas

C. Demographics: 89% White, 5% Native American

D. Cook PVI: R+13 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: Michigan’s first district includes the entirety of the Upper Peninsula as well as the northern third of the Lower Peninsula of the state and the state’s border with Wisconsin, with the city of Traverse City being the largest urban area in the district. Incumbent Rep. Bergman has represented the district since 2016. He was reelected in 2020 with 62% of the vote. He received nearly double the number of votes as all Democratic candidates in the district’s closed primaries.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


II. MI-02:

A. Current Representative: John Moolenaar (R)

B. Population Distribution: Mostly Rural, Some Urban Areas

C. Demographics: 88% White, 5% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+16 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: The Michigan second district includes western central part of the Lower Peninsula and is largely rural with some smaller towns scattered throughout the district. Incumbent Rep. Moolenaar has represented the district since 2014. In 2020 he was reelected with 65% of the vote. He received nearly three times more votes than Democratic candidates in the district’s closed primaries.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


III. MI-03:

A. Current Representative: Peter Meijer (R)

B. Population Distribution: Majority Urban and Suburban, Some Rural Areas

C. Demographics: 70% White, 14% African American, 11% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: D+1 (Toss-up)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 3rd District includes the western central part of the state and the two largest cities in the region, Grand Rapids and Muskegon, are both included in the district. Incumbent Rep. Meijer, was one of only 10 Republicans to vote to impeach former Pres. Trump after the events of January 6th, and was eliminated in the primary 52-48. The winner of that Republican primary, John Gibbs, was the target of an unusual Democratic strategy of propping up his campaign among more far-right Republicans in the state by paying for advertisements describing Mr. Gibbs as “too conservative for Western Michigan” and touting his endorsements from America First conservatives. Democrats did this in an effort to have Mr. Gibbs, who many see as a far weaker candidate than Rep. Meijer, win the primary, which is exactly what happened. This would theoretically help the Democrats nominee, Hillary Scholten, an unsuccessful candidate for this district in 2020. She ran unopposed in the closed primary and received only about half of the votes as the two Republican candidates in their tightly-contested election. So will the new tactic work for the Democrats? Many media outlets seem to think so. The old district lines were won by former President Trump by 3%, while the new ones would have voted for President Biden by 9%, a 12% swing for the Democrats. Furthermore, Ms. Scholten leads in the aggregate polling data by 1.2%, which grew from a deficit of 9% in August, a swing of more than 10% for the Democrats. It will be a close race, but the Democrats may find a reason to cheer on Election Night in the Michigan 3rd, an opportunity which they should cherish, as the rest of the country is looking increasingly difficult for the Democrats.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (GAIN)


IV. MI-04:

A. Current Representative: Bill Huizenga (R) and Fred Upton (R)

B. Population Distribution: Largely Rural, Some Urban and Suburban Areas

C. Demographics: 75% White, 11% African American, 9% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+5 (Leans Republican)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 4th District includes south-central part of the state along Lake Michigan and includes the largely working-class cities of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Due to redistricting, there were two incumbents for this district, but Rep. Upton decided to retire, meaning that Rep. Huizenga ran unopposed in the district’s Republican primary. Despite the small partisan lean, the Democrats decided to not field a candidate in this district, and only a write-in candidate, who earned nine times fewer votes, will represent the party in the election.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


V. MI-05:

A. Current Representative: Tim Walberg (R)

B. Population Distribution: Overwhelmingly Rural

C. Demographics: 85% White, 6% African American, 5% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+15 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 5th District includes a long band in the southern part of the state which stretches from Lake Michigan in the west to Lake Erie in the east and includes the entirety of the state’s two borders with Indiana and Ohio. Incumbent Rep. Walberg has represented the district since 2010. The Republican primary had a high turnout in the district since Rep. Walberg did not run unopposed and Republicans earned 2.5x more votes than all Democratic candidates in this deep-red rural district.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


VI. MI-06:

A. Current Representative: Debbie Dingell (D)

B. Population Distribution: Mostly Suburban and Exurban, some Rural Areas

C. Demographics: 69% White, 12% Asian, 12% African American, 5% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: D+11 (Strong Democratic)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 6th district includes the far western suburbs of Detroit as well as the college town of Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, one of the largest universities in the country. Incumbent Rep. Dingell has represented the district since 2014 and was reelected with 66% of the vote in 2020. Although she ran unopposed in the primaries, she still earned 2x more votes than all Republicans in this deeply liberal district.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


VII. MI-07:

A. Current Representative: Elissa Slotkin (D)

B. Population Distribution: Largely Suburban and Urban, Many Rural Areas

C. Demographics: 80% White, 8% African American, 6% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+2 (Toss-up)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 7th District includes the capital of Michigan, Lansing, as well as many rural areas in the southern part of the state. Incumbent Rep. Slotkin has represented the district since 2018 and her district has become much more competitive due not to redistricting (which actually helped her), but the national climate. In 2020, she was reelected with 51% of the vote in a district which former President Trump carried by 1%. Under the new map, President Biden would have won the district by 2%. In the primaries, she received over 2,000 more votes than her Republican challenger and the seat was seen as a genuine toss-up during the summer. Now however, Rep. Slotkin’s position has improved in polling (0.7% lead in July to 4% lead now) and she may have just enough support in the deeply-blue capital to propel her to victory. A pickup in the Michigan 7th for Republicans would be a good omen for the rest of night, as the district includes the exurban and rural areas which will be pivotal to a good night for the GOP.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


VIII. MI-08:

A. Current Representative: Dan Kildee (D)

B. Population Distribution: Largely Rural, Many Urban Areas

C. Demographics: 73% White, 17% African American, 5% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: R+1 (Toss-up)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 8th District includes the eastern central part of the state with the cities of Flint and Saginaw in the district. Incumbent Rep. Kildee has represented the district since 2012 and won reelection in 2020 with 55% of the vote. For Rep. Kildee he may be one of the most pressured Democrats in the country. Under the new lines of redistricting, Pres. Biden would have won this district by only 2% and his lead in the aggregate polling is starting to shrink (6.5% lead in September, 5% now). Outside of the deeply-blue city of Flint, this district includes many of the largely white, working-class smaller Midwestern cities which threw their support behind Trump on a massive scale in 2016 and a smaller scale in 2020. More bad news for Rep. Kildee? He earned 9,000 less votes than Republicans in the primaries, but this could be explained away since Rep. Kildee ran unopposed, while the Republicans had three candidates in their primary. Despite polling and convenient excuses, this seems like the kind of district which Republicans have to get if they really want to have a “red wave” this year. We think they may just be able to pull it off.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (GAIN)


IX. MI-09:

A. Current Representative: Lisa McClain (R)

B. Population Distribution: Largely Rural, Some Exurban Areas

C. Demographics: 88% White

D. Cook PVI: R+18 (Strong Republican)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 9th district, the most Republican district in the state, includes the part of Michigan known as “The Thumb”, the northeastern corner of the state on the coast of Lake Huron. Incumbent Rep. McClain has represented the district since 2020, when she was elected with 66% of the vote. She earned three times more votes than Democratic candidates in the closed primaries.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (HOLD)


X. MI-10:

A. Current Representative: None (New Seat)

B. Population Distribution: Overwhelmingly Suburban

C. Demographics: 73% White, 15% African American, 7% Asian

D. Cook PVI: R+3 (Toss-up)

E. Outlook: The new Michigan 10th district includes the northeastern suburbs of Detroit including the towns of Warren and Sterling Heights. The favorite to win the seat is Republican nominee John James, a two-time unsuccessful candidate for Senate in 2018 and 2020. He won his primary very easily and Republican candidates earned around 5,000 more votes than Democratic candidates in the closed primaries. Former President Trump would have won this seat by a very slim margin in 2020 and in a strong Republican year that should be enough to bag the GOP another Michigan district.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Republican Victory (GAIN)


XI. MI-11:

A. Current Representative: Haley Stevens (D) and Andy Levin (D)

B. Population Distribution: Overwhelmingly Suburban

C. Demographics: 68% White, 15% African American, 10% Asian, 5% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: D+7 (Leans Democratic)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 11th includes the northwestern suburbs of Detroit mostly in affluent Oakland County. Due to redistricting this district had two incumbents and it was Rep. Stevens who won the closed primary 60%-40%. She is the favorite to win this relatively blue district where Democratic candidates earned around twice as many votes as Republican candidates in the closed primaries and Rep. Stevens has a 15% lead in the aggregate polling data.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


XII. MI-12:

A. Current Representative: Rashida Tlaib (D)

B. Population Distribution: Urban and Suburban

C. Demographics: 47% African American, 46% White

D. Cook PVI: D+23 (Strong Democratic)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 12th District includes the western part of the Detroit metro area, including the large suburb of Dearborn, a center of the Muslim-American population. Progressive incumbent Rep. Tlaib has represented the district since 2018 and was reelected in 2020 with 79% of the votes in this deep blue urban district.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


XIII. MI-13:

A. Current Representative: None (New Seat)

B. Population Distribution: Urban

C. Demographics: 48% African American, 37% White, 10% Hispanic

D. Cook PVI: D+23 (Strong Democratic)

E. Outlook: The Michigan 13th district includes nearly all of inner-city Detroit. The overwhelming favorite to become the first representative of this district is Shri Thanedar, who won a very crowded Democratic primary with 28% of the vote. Mr. Thanedar is a current member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. Democratic candidates earned around four times more votes than Republican candidates in the district’s closed primaries.

F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (FLIP)


Governor

The other election taking place in Michigan this year is for the Governor. Incumbent Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is seeking her second term in office after winning in 2018 by a margin of 10%. She ran unopposed in the state’s closed primaries. Her Republican challenger is far-right media personality Tudor Dixon who won a crowded Republican primary with 40% of the vote. Ms. Dixon, who has no political experience, has come under fire for her frequent support for conspiracy theories about the 2020 Presidential Election, as well as saying, while commenting on a real-world case in Michigan, that a 14-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle would be a “perfect example” of an abortion she would not allow. Despite struggling Democrats around the country, Gov. Whitmer has been able to maintain relatively strong polling numbers and her opponents somewhat fringe beliefs may turn off some independent and centrist voters. Gov. Whitmer has not trailed in a single poll conducted within the state and holds an 8% lead in the aggregate polling data (although the average of “quality” polls has her at only a 1% advantage). Although Gov. Whitmer is ensured to not repeat her 10% margin of victory from four years ago, it seems that she will garner enough support in Michigan to earn a second term as the state’s highest-ranking politician.


Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)


Analysis

The Millennial Agora is predicting that the House races in Michigan will lead to four changes, and two flips for each party (although the Michigan 13th would not be counted as a gain for the Democrats, since Michigan lost one seat due to redistricting). We also predict that the Democrats will hold on to the Governorship in the state.


Thank you for reading our preview of the midterm elections in Michigan. Check back tomorrow as we look at the races in Minnesota, a state split among rural and urban lines, but which has not voted for a Republican candidate for President since 1972.



The state of the House after our predictions. Made at 270towin.com

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