On November 3 most pundits and political watchers will be focused on the VA and NJ governor contests as well as a very interesting congressional race in upstate NY. These are being touted as the bellwether races that will determine whether or not an anticipated GOP and conservative resurgence is likely in 2010.
There is a fourth race however that should be added to this list. A special election to fill Michigan's 19th State Senate seat. A seat that has been held by Democrat Mark Schauer since 2002 until his election last year to the US Congress.
If Republican Mike Nofs is successful in retaking the seat and adding a new member to the Republican majority, it will have direct and meaningful consequences on the 2010 election’s and its effects will be felt well into the next decade.
Winning this seat will significantly bolster our chances at a continuing Republican Senate majority following the 2010 elections when the entire Chamber will stand for re-election. Any Democrat plan for capturing the majority for the first time since 1983 has to include keeping this seat in their column. Losing this special election will make the Democrats path to majority much more complicated; perhaps impossible.
Retaining a Senate Republican majority will in turn guarantee that Republicans have at least one of the three pens needed to sign redistricting plans into law. Democrats are desperate to control the redistricting process in 2012 and must win the Senate to have a chance. Reversing the recent string of Democrat victories will go a long way to insuring the Michigan Republican congressional delegation is not decimated following redistricting.
A win in this swing district at the heart of the 7th congressional seat will increase donor and activist morale in the effort to defeat the new and increasingly unpopular incumbent (voting for cap and trade will do that to you). It will also brighten prospects for defeating Gary Peters in Michigan’s 9th Congressional seat in Oakland County. Additionally, it will provide another piece of evidence that Michigan Republicans are ready to retake the Governor’s office in 2010. All recent polling shows that this race is one of the best opportunities for a GOP pick-up in 2010.
I encourage people to add this race to their watch list next Tuesday and remind them that Michigan has a rich heritage of acting as an early indicator of coming GOP success. The GOP took control of the State Senate in 1983 – setting the stage for Reagan’s landslide and giving birth to Reagan Democrats in 1984. Governor Engler’s stunning upset election in 1990 set the stage for a decade of GOP dominance over Governor’s mansions. Congressman Pete Hoekstra’s election in 1992 was the first sign of the 1994 conservative revolt that would culminate in the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994.
It is fitting that this seat, which includes Jackson, Michigan, the birthplace of the Republican Party, could well serve as a spring board for a rebirth of the GOP in 2010 and beyond.
- Michael Meyers