My schedule is getting less erratic, so we're going to start to get back to normal posting here.
Some big news over the past week is Mark Schauer taking on Tim Walberg. It's official. I commented on the speculation about three weeks ago and analyzed the potential race there. It looks like he'll have to face a primary as well, so it is no given that he'll be the nominee. Jim Berryman is also running, and I analyzed his chances here. I think Walberg can be beaten, but I think Schauer isn't going to be able to do it. It's much easier being a chamelion for a state representative or state senate district than it is to be one as a congressman. Walberg is also very very good at turning out his right-populist supporters.
I think Walberg beats Schauer. Now why do I think as things stand, Walberg wins in 08, even against Schauer.
1. Primaries. Schauer does not have easy ride to the nomination. Attorney David Naucht is running. Sharon Renier is also running. Former State Senator Jim Berryman is also running. Naucht's raising money and is going to have a campaign. Renier beat democrat establishment campaigns several times in the past. Jim Berryman won a tough state senate district which went Republican when he left. Joe Schwarz may also run and is considering a party switch to something more in line with his tax raising and gun grabbing views. There is a significal geographical element to that primary, and it is no gaurantee that Schauer will survive it. I think he would, but not easily.
2. District is more republican in presidential years. Two counties that are not going to be as big of an advantage to democrats in 08 are Eaton and Jackson. Why? State workers. Eaton County has a very large number of state workers commuting to Lansing (as well as a small portion of Lansing). They strongly lean democrat in off year elections. Granholm won Eaton Twice, by a big margin in 06. Bush won it in 04. Jackson went for Bush twice, and Granholm once. Jackson has a lot of state workers due to the corrections industry (prisons). It is very open to democrats at the state level, but not nearly as much at the federal level, and not to leftists.
3. Geography. There are very few strongholds for either party in this district. The democrats have Albion in Calhoun County, the city of Jackson (usually), and part of Lansing in Eaton County. Adrian (Lenawee) and Battle Creek are strong leaners. None of the democrat strongholds were enough to take their respective county in the 04 election, although Calhoun went for Gore in 2000 due mostly to Albion and Battle Creek. The Republicans have Hillsdale and Branch Counties leading the way, Summit Township in Jackson, and some rural areas in the other counties are also strongholds. Most of the rural areas are republican leaning, not strongholds however. There are a lot of socially conservative independents here, and Walberg runs well among them, much to the chagrin to the establishment crowds which do not like him. (That can be a good thing) Calhoun did not like Walberg to begin with due to the Schwarz defeat. I do not see that much more of a swing against him from 04. Schauer is probably too leftist and too establishment democrat to take Jackson in a federal level race against a non-sacrificial lamb. Eaton would be close, but probably 50/50 at best. He'll probably take Washtenaw due to the Ann Arbor leftists in Scio Township, although the Manchester and Salem areas will offset some of it. Schauer can forget about Branch, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties altogether. That's too much to make up, despite a Battle Creek homer advantage.
4. Taxes. Granholm's tax proposals are showing a newer side to Schauer - and not a good one to a populist district, such as this one.
5. Last but not least is Walberg's maverick side. He's not a Bush robot, but a conservative first and foremost, and his social conservatism plays well in most parts of this district (including swing areas) outside of areas like Scio Township (Ann Arbor) in Washtenaw County and maybe Delta Township, although I've still never quite figured that area out.
Schauer will make this a race, but my money is on Tim Walberg, and I'm rather confident about this matchup. If this was one of the Spade brothers vs Walberg, I'd be less confident.