Politics site's forecast: Odds on Stevens to win Trott's seat in Congress

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
Haley Stevens

FiveThirtyEight, the statistics-driven site founded by Michigan native Nate Silver, predicts that Democrat Haley Stevens has a 2 in 3 chance of defeating Republican Lena Epstein in November. 

FiveThirtyEight's new U.S. House forecast ranks the 11th District contest as "leans Democrat," suggesting that Stevens will receive an average 49.9 percent of the vote to Epstein's 46.4 percent, with an 80-percent chance of falling within range. 

The race will decide who succeeds retiring Rep. Dave Trott, R-Birmingham.  

The well-respected website, now part of ABC News, rates only one congressional race in Michigan as a toss-up — the showdown between Republican Rep. Mike Bishop and Democrat Elissa Slotkin, a former Defense Department official in the Obama administration. 

FiveThirtyEight gives Bishop a 3 in 5 chance of winning, forecasting he will garner an average 49.4 percent of the vote to Slotkin's 47.5 percent — also with an 80-percent chance of falling within range. The 8th District is Silver's home district. 

FiveThirtyEight predicts Michigan's other competitive districts will remain in GOP hands, including the "likely Republican" districts held by Reps. Fred Upton of St. Joseph and Jack Bergman of Watersmeet, and Rep. Tim Walberg's seat in the 7th District, which is rated "leans Republican." 

FiveThirtyEight's House forecast model use four types of data, including polls of the district if available, polls of similar districts, non-polling factors such fundraising and a district’s voting history, as well as experts’ ratings. 

The site gives Democrats a 3 in 4 chance (74.4 percent) of winning control of the House, gaining an average of 34 seats in the midterm elections. 

Dems unite behind Whitmer

Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates joined forces — and cracked jokes — Monday evening in Detroit, where runners-up Abdul El-Sayed and Shri Thanedar pledged support as they rallied with nominee Gretchen Whitmer.

“I’m here because they promised me there will be no debates,” joked Thanedar, an Ann Arbor entrepreneur who poured nearly $11 million of his own personal savings into his third-place campaign.

“I’m here to support Sen. Whitmer to be our next governor. I’m also here to make an announcement: There will be no more Shri Thanedar commercials.”

El-Sayed, known for his lofty rhetoric and passionate speeches, noted how his second-place campaign allowed him to meet people from all walks of life and from all parts of the state.

“And no matter where I went on this campaign, I knew that Gretchen had gone there  first,” he said, prompting laughs as he praised Whitmer and running mate Garlin Gilchrist II, a pairing he dubbed “the G2 ticket.”

The event at Plymouth United Church of Christ also served a Kumbaya moment between Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and El-Sayed, the city’s former health department director who distanced himself from and criticized the mayor on the campaign trail.

“He came in as our health director, and now everybody in the state knows him as a passionate, intelligent, dedicated man,” Duggan said as he introduced El-Sayed. “Please welcome one of the great campaigners we’ve ever seen.”

Independent candidate in 11th 

Cooper Nye of Commerce Township says he's the youngest candidate this year running for U.S. House in Michigan. 

The 26-year-old independent candidate made it onto the general election ballot this fall after submitting 4,000 signatures to the state — 3,000 are required under state law for non-affiliated candidates. 

Cooper Nye is an independent candidate for U.S. House in the 11th District

He is running againstEpstein of Bloomfield Township and Stevens of Rochester Hills in the 11th District. The contest is rated a toss-up by several political analysts. 

“There is a silent, sensible majority that’s tired of the two-party duopoly,” Nye said in a statement.

“Americans are sick of the polarization ripping us apart. And they’re ready to unite and disrupt this broken system that serves special interest instead of citizens.”

Nye grew up in Novi and attended Walled Lake Western High School and Michigan State University. He moved to Washington, D.C., after graduation, worked in public relations for three years and "found first-hand why some call D.C. 'Hollywood for Ugly People,'" he says on his campaign website.

According to his LinkedIn page, Nye last worked as an account executive for the PR firm Porter Novelli before moving back to Michigan earlier this year to launch his campaign. 

Warren endorses Davidson 

Democrat Rob Davidson is touting the endorsement of progressive powerhouse U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, in Michigan's 2nd District. 

"As an ER doctor, Rob has dedicated his life to putting people first — not powerful corporations," Warren said in a statement provided by Davidson's campaign.

"He will stand up to special interests in Washington and fight hard for Michigan working families as the representative for the 2nd Congressional District. I’m proud to endorse him."

Davidson of Spring Lake said he's honored to receive her endorsement.

"I look forward to serving with Sen. Warren in Congress so we can work on behalf of Michigan families and small businesses toward providing healthcare for all and an economy that works for everyone, not just Wall Street billionaires and Big Banks," he said. 

Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke and Jonathan Oosting