Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Michigan Congressional Seats
By Ballotpedia's Congressional team
|Michigan's Congressional Elections in 2012|
|U.S. Senate Election?||U.S. House seats||Possible competitive races?|
|Yes||14||4 (1st, 3rd, 7th & 11th)|
LANSING: Michigan: Michigan has 14 U.S. House seats and one U.S. Senate seat on the ballot in 2012. All 14 U.S. House races have at least three candidates on the ballot. U.S. Senate incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) is facing five challengers on the November 6 ballot.
Five of the 14 congressional districts have Democratic incumbents, the other nine have Republican incumbents.
Michigan is split between Eastern and Central time zones.
Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and is seeking re-election in 2012. She ran unopposed in her party's primary on August 7th and will face five challengers in the general election on November 6th: Republican primary victor Pete Hoekstra, and four third party challengers.
The Wall Street Journal reported in late May that Republicans were feeling less sanguine about their electoral prospects in Michigan than they had been in the afterglow of the 2010 elections, when the Governor's mansion, the attorney general's seat, and both chambers in the state legislature flipped from blue to red. 
The New York Times race ratings has listed the Michigan U.S. Senate race listed as Leaning Democratic and the Cook Political Report race ratings list the race as Likely Democratic. An Rasmussen October poll favored Stabenow over Hoekstra 51%-39%. 
|State||General Election Candidates||Incumbent||2012 Winner||Partisan Switch?|
|Michigan Class 1 Senate seat|| Debbie Stabenow
Richard Matkin (UST)
John Litle (NLP)
- Competitive Races
- Candidates running by District
- Partisan breakdown by district
- Comparison of new and old redistricting maps
1st Congressional District
Michigan's 1st is considered to be a Tossup according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Dan Benishek is challenged by Gary McDowell (D) for a rematch of their 2010 bout. The district has a large number of senior citizens, which may hurt Benishek. During the previous session, Benishek voted for the Ryan budget, which has been framed as a vote to end traditional medicare. The district has become slightly more Republican following redistricting.
Using the Federal Election Commission's October Quarterly campaign finance filings, the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law published a report on October 22nd focusing on the 25 House races rated most competitive by The Cook Political Report, including the race for Michigan's 1st. The report examines the relative spending presence of non-candidate groups, candidates, and small donors in these races - "which will likely determine which party will control the House." The district was ranked 12th among 19 Republican toss-up races.
3rd Congressional District
Michigan's 3rd is considered to be Leaning Republican according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Justin Amash is challenged by Democrat Steve Pestka. Amash has been considered as "the next Ron Paul" for his libertarian policies and has clashed with Republican leadership.  According to Open Congress, Amash voted with the Republican Party leadership 77.2 percent of the time -- which is the fourth-lowest figure among Republican congressional members.
7th Congressional District
Michigan's 7th is considered to be Leaning Republican according to the New York Times race ratings. Republican incumbent Tim Walberg was initially elected in 2006, lost the seat in 2008, and was re-elected in 2010. He will face Kurt R. Haskell (D) in the general election.
FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Michigan's 7th District became slightly more Republican because of redistricting.
The Hill published a list of the Top Ten House Members who were helped by redistricting. Tim Walberg ranked 6th on the list. The article notes that Tim Walberg lost the district to centrist Mark Schauer (D) in 2008. He then beat Schauer in a rematch by 5 points in 2010. The redistricting process, controlled by Republicans, made sure to cut Schauer’s home base out of the district and made it a few points more Republican.
11th Congressional District
The 11th congressional district of Michigan will hold a special election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. The election is to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R). The primary took place on September 5, 2012, while the general election will coincide with the November 6, 2012, general election.
The Special election candidates are David Curson (D) and Kerry Bentivolio (R). The general election Democratic candidate, Syed Taj, has stated that he is focusing all his efforts on the general election campaign.
The special election was needed after McCotter failed to qualify for the election and then subsequently resigned his seat.
Both the New York Times and Cook Political Report race ratings have listed this race as Leaning Republican. Republican incumbent Thaddeus McCotter withdrew from his re-election campaign following a scandal over petition signatures. The following are the candidates on the November 6 ballot: Syed Taj (D), Kerry Bentivolio (R), John Tatar (L), Steven Paul Duke (G) and Daniel Johnson (NLP).
FairVote's partisanship study indicates the 11th District became more Republican because of redistricting. Cook Political Report's updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index gives the 11th district a PVI of R+4, which is the 199th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 51-49 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 56-44 percent over John Kerry (D).
As of October, Democratic candidate Taj led the Republican candidate Bentivolio in fundraising efforts $627,901 to $430,042.
Here is a complete list of U.S. House candidates appearing on the general election ballot in Michigan:
| Congressional Redistricting Map, approved August 2011
For more information, view Redistricting in Michigan.
- 2012 elections review: Few incumbents defeated in Michigan August 8
- 2012 elections preview: Michigan voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries August 6
- November 6, 2012 election results
- Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Michigan State Legislature
- United States Senate elections in Michigan, 2012
- United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2012
- Michigan's 1st congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 2nd congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 3rd congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 4th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 5th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 6th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 7th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 8th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 9th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 10th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 11th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 12th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 13th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan's 14th congressional district elections, 2012
- Michigan elections, 2012
- National contested primary average during the 2012 U.S. congressional elections
- Michigan Secretary of State "FAQs"
- Wall Street Journal "Tough Challenge for GOP in Michigan" May 31, 2012
- New York Times "Battle for the Senate," Accessed October 29, 2012
- Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS FOR OCTOBER 4, 2012," Accessed October 29, 2012
- Rasmussen Reports "Election 2012: Michigan Senate," Accessed October 29, 2012
- New York Times "House Race Ratings," Accessed August 10, 2012
- Brennan Center for Justice, "Election Spending 2012: 25 Toss-Up House Races," October 22, 2012
- Open Congress "Voting With Party"
- "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Michigan," September 2012
- The Hill "House members most helped by redistricting" Accessed April 17, 2012
- Michigan.gov "Governor required to call special election to fill 11th Congressional District vacancy ," July 10, 2012
- MLive.com "New candidate files as Democrat in congressional district vacated by Thad McCotter," July 19, 2012
- Cook Political Report "2012 HOUSE RACE RATINGS FOR OCTOBER 25, 2012," Accessed October 29, 2012
- Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
- 2012 House and Senate Campaign Finance for Michigan "House Candidates -- MI District : 11," Accessed October 29, 2012