Wednesday, November 16, 2005


New Thoughts About the 8th

I've been thinking about Jim Marcinkowski a bit and I might have to change my tune. I think this guy is backed by the democratic establishment and I really doubt that anybody will be able to challenge him in the primary successfully. What does his candidacy mean for Rogers and the race next year? It going to be interesting.

Rogers is ex-FBI, sits on the intelligence committee, has ties to DeLay etc, while this Marcinkowski fellow is ex-CIA (an operative, not an analyst), knows Valerie Plame and has no paper trail when it comes to issues and voting. While he hasn't come out on issues, I'm going to assume he must be somewhat moderate, which should play well in a district that has more conservative voters than liberals.

Rogers is in a tough spot, he certainly hasn't dodged any bullets this year. He will have to move to the right (if he gets involved at all) in the GOP primary against Flynn and back to the center to deal with Marcinkowski.

I also find it quite amusing that the election is going to be about national security, not the economy, in a state like Michigan and in a district like the 8th. I suppose it goes to show. This should be interesting.

I first heard about Marcinkowksi when the Livingston County democrats set up a public meeting with him at the Howell courthouse. I knew something was up, but wasn't sure what. I thought the dems were at first trying to turn the pro-military base against the GOP in a key county. I didn't know Marcinkowski lived in the district. That explains the meeting.

There's a real Marcinkowski geography disadvantage though. Lake Orion is on the fringes of the district, and in a different media market than most of the district. It is almost as much of a GOP stronghold as Livingston County.

The democrat base is Lansing, East Lansing, and Okemos on the other side of the district. Mike's never won East Lansing. Mike's won the City of Lansing and Lansing Township(almost won it in 04) in 2002. He's won Meridian Township (Okemos/Haslett) in 2002 and 2004. Delhi Twp (Holt) is a key swing area, and Mike won it in 02 and 04. Mike's well known there and is popular in those areas compared to other Republicans. Shiawassee County is a marginal GOP county where Mike's won big in every election. That doesn't even account for Livingston County where Mike runs 5-10% ahead of Bush.

Granted Mike's opponent in 2002 was a jerk that cost votes every time he opened his mouth. I'm not saying that from a partisan standpoint, but as a personality standpoint. In 04, Alexander ran as good of campaign as one can expect with his funding - and he barely won Ingham County.

The 800lb gorilla for the democrats in Livingston County. In most cases, we now cancel out Ingham County's democrat spread. (We won Livingston by 24,800, lost Ingham by 22,100) In Mike's case, we exceed with room to spare.

Mike will most likely rack up a 25,000+ vote spread in Livingston County alone in an off year election. That's a conservative estimate assuming that Marcinkowski will be a strong candidate or a very strong Democrat year. Mike got a 40,000 vote spread against Alexander, and a 32,000 vote spread (off-year)against McAlpine back in 02. If Marcinkowski is going to win, he needs to get a 40,000+ plurality in Ingham County, and/or win Shiawassee County, and make Clinton County close like Granholm did in 02. He'll also need to do well in his home base making his part of Oakland County closer than expected. In Marcinkowski's favor, Ingham and Clinton County are both usually more democrat in off-year elections due to state workers.

Anything's possible, but Marcinkowski has a tough tough road ahead of him. In the 2000 open seat. Dianne Byrum, an A-team candidate, won Ingham by 20,000 in a presidential year. She held Mike to a almost 22,000 vote spread in Livingston, and also won the Genessee County portion of the pre-redistricted 8th. It still wasn't enough since Mike took the Oakland, Washtenaw and Shiawassee portions and won by 88 votes.

Nothing's impossible, but unless Mike does a 180 and starts voting anti-gun or for tax-increases, I don't see this one flipping. It would take a perfect storm, like Paul Hackett almost was in Ohio.
How much can you really trust party flippers to withstand the pressures and influences inside the beltway?
How much can you trust anbody in the first place, let alone in the beltway...
People have to earn trust. Character and integrity have to be proven. You just have to wonder about the commitment and resolve of a politician who crosses the aisle.
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