Despite the rarity of having five congressional seats with no incumbents on the ballot, most of the fireworks in Michigan's U.S. House races took place in the August primary.
Redistricting has all but assured the candidate nominated by a district's dominant party will prevail in the November balloting.
Few of the nine incumbents vying for re-election face serious challenges, and we see no race in which the existing member of Congress should be replaced by the opponent.
Those incumbent congressmen are: Republicans Dan Benishek in the 1st District in northern Michigan; Bill Huizenga in the 2nd District out west; Justin Amash from the Grand Rapids area in the 3rd District; Fred Upton in the 6th District around Kalamazoo; Tim Walberg in the 7th District in southwest Michigan; and Candice Miller in the 10th District in Macomb County; and Democrats Dan Kildee in mid-Michigan's 5th District; Sandy Levin in Metro Detroit's 9th District; and John Conyers in Detroit's 13th District.
Here are our preferences in the remaining five races:
4th District (Midland and mid-Michigan) The surprise retirement of House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp opened up this seat. State Sen. John Moolenaar prevailed in a tough Republican primary. Moolenaar is a solid conservative who pledges to attack the deficit and strengthen the military. He was an effective lawmaker, serving three terms in the state House before being elected to the Senate in 2010. His focus in the Legislature was on education, and he was also a member of appropriations. The Democratic candidate is Dr. Jeff Holmes, a family practitioner from Alma. John Moolenaar is the better choice in this race.
8th District (Stretching from Lansing to northern Oakland County): Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, delivered his own surprise in announcing his retirement shortly before the spring filing deadline. That set off a scramble among his would-be replacements. Former Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop came out on top of the Republican primary. Bishop has strong legislative experience. As leader of the state Senate under a Democratic governor, he proved effective in advocating for the minority party and also working with Democrats to forge important legislation. That background in collaborative governing will serve him well in a House wracked by partisanship. His opponent is Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing. Mike Bishop gets our endorsement.
11th District (western Wayne and Oakland Counties) Dave Trott accomplished a rare feat in knocking off an incumbent congressman in a partisan primary. Trott defeated Kerry Bentivolio, and now faces Democrat Brian McKenzie. Trott is the clear choice here. He has an impressive background as a business executive, having owned and operated several mortgage services firms. That business experience will prove valuable in Congress.
12th District (Downriver and Washtenaw County). Democratic Rep. John Dingell served this district for nearly 60 years and is retiring. For much of that time, he was ably assisted by his wife, Debbie Dingell, who is seeking to replace him. Debbie Dingell knows the workings of Congress and how to build alliances to get things done. She also understands the varied needs of her district, which includes both factories and universities. She would go to Congress as more of a redshirt freshman than a true rookie. Her opponent is Republican Terry Bowman, a conservative union member. Debbie Dingell is our choice.
14th District (Detroit and southern Oakland County) Brenda Lawrence prevailed in the Democratic primary against a formidable list of challengers. The Southfield mayor offers decades of experience in meeting the needs of her constituents. The district is so heavily Democratic that it is almost pointless for the GOP to post a challenger. The Republican on the ballot is Christina L. Barr. Lawrence gets our endorsement.