Tim Walberg won his rematch against Mark Schauer. Schauer couldn't hide himself from his record and lost by 11,000 votes. I said this about the 7th back in January.
I am more familiar with this district than any other outside of the 8th, where I live. I commuted through it every day in law school. I live about a mile from the district (no jokes about seeing the district). I have family in the district (and my family originally settled in Marshall when they moved to Michigan). One of the PAC's I'm involved with is based in Hillsdale and Jackson Counties. I also am very familiar with the Lansing area, as well as Eaton County. Branch County is the only area I'm not very familiar with. Overall if I have to describe its leanings, I'd say conservative, populist, and independent. It's not one that can be taken for granted.
This district is a competitive populist leaning district in South Central Michigan. It usually leans Republican, but voted for Clinton, Bush twice, Granholm once, and Obama. McCain left the state in 09, and the NRCC reportedly packed up shop and conceded the congressional race. Mark Schauer, endorsed by RINO (and I have rarely use that term for the last 4 years) Joe Schwarz, won 49-46.
The Republican district base here is Hillsdale (which usually battles Livingston, Saniliac and Allegan for 3rd place in percentages) and Branch Counties, along with Summit Twp (usually), Sandstone Twp and Spring Arbor in Jackson County, and Lodi and Salem Twps in Washtenaw County. The Democrat base is the city of Jackson, Albion, Battle Creek, Springfield, Benton Twp, Adrian, Scio Township in Washtenaw County, Chelsea, and Eaton County's portion of Lansing. The rest can be competitive and usually leans slightly Republican, but not overwhelming so. Eaton County and Washtenaw County have really tilted blue heavily in 2006 and 2008, and the rest did not move as democrat. Calhoun County is slightly democrat, but winnable for Republicans. Eaton County swings and has been treading Democrat with its Lansing area influence. Western Washtenaw Swings. Jackson County swings, although won more by Republicans than Democrats at the top of the ticket. Lenawee County is a swing county, although with a bit of a social conservative streak. Both Jackson County and Lenawee County voted for Bush twice and Obama. Lenawee voted for Clinton. Jackson did not.
Mark Schauer is good at making his leftist self looking moderate. He's the type of guy who as a state rep supported all bad amendments to the CCW bill, including making cars a criminal empowerment zone. He then voted for the final bill to say that he did. He is also strongly pro-abortion, supporting of cap and trade, and voted for the government takeover. If his chameleon style gets caught for good, he should be beaten in this district. He is a very good campaigner however, and can not be taken lightly.
This was a close race in both 2008 and 2010. Schauer won with 48.79% in 2008. Walberg won with 50.01% of the vote in 2010.
Here's the difference.
Walberg - 55.58%, Schauer 38.74% - 17,752 votes, 2988 vote spread
Calhoun County (Schauer's home)
Schauer - 56.00%, Walberg 39.81% - 60113 votes, -9735 spread
Schauer - 49.60%, Walberg - 44.62% - 55751 votes, -2777 spread
Walberg - 60.11%, Schauer - 34.92% - 19989 votes, 5034 vote spread
Schauer - 48.19%, Walberg - 47.12% - 72583 votes, -780 vote spread
Walberg - 49.15%, Schauer - 47.15% - 46696 votes, 934 vote spread
Schauer - 50.74%, Walberg - 44.40% - 49349 votes, -3129 vote spread
Jackson County flipped, as I expected (as well as both state rep districts there). Calhoun County was closer this time, and not a blowout. Walberg took Lenawee and helped us flip the state rep district back for the first time since Walberg had that district himself. Eaton County is still a bear for Walberg. It's a county with a lot of state workers, and Walberg's strong anti-tax and anti-spending views do not sell there as well as they do in Hillsdale.
Calhoun County was closer than expected. Schauer took Springfield, Albion and Battle Creek big, as well as Bedford Twp and Tekonsha Twp. Walberg took the City and Township of Marshall, Albion Twp, Athens Twp, Burlington, Clarence, Clarendon, Convis, Eckford, Emmet, Fredonia, Homer, Lee, Marengo, Pennfield, and Sheridan Townships. Emmet, Homer, Pennfield, and Marshall flipped to Walberg. Schauer flipped Tekonsha.
Walberg took the Washtenaw County portion of the district for the 1st time, the same area that Mark Ouimet took from the democrats in the state rep district. Walberg took Bridgewater, Dexter Twp (not the village which is largely in Scio Twp), Freedom Twp, Lima Twp, Lodi Twp (in a blowout solely to precinct 1, he lost precinct 2). Lyndon Twp, Manchester Twp, Northfield Twp, the small part of Pittsfield Twp, Salem Twp, City of Saline, Saline Twp, Sharon Twp, Sylvan Twp, and Webster Twp. Schauer took Chelsea and Scio Twp (big). Dexter Twp, Lyndon Twp, Manchester Twp, Northfield Twp, City of Saline, and Webster Twp flipped.
It'll be interesting what the redistricters decide to do besides go after Gary Peters. If I'm drawing the map, I'm giving Eaton County to Mike Rogers who does relatively well in the Lansing area for a Republican. I'll give Barry and Monroe Counties to Walberg instead (all districts need to expand). Barry County is strongly Republican, and while Monroe County is more historically democrat than Eaton, it's still a better matchup than Eaton County for Tim Walberg as an individual. I'd give Scio Township to Dingell's district.