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Michigan 1st District - Benishek vs. McDowell


Dan Benishek

Dan Benishek (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Gary McDowell

Gary McDowell (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

Michigan Snapshot

RCP Ranking:
2010 Key Races:
Governor | MI-7 | MI-9 | MI-15

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

President | MI-7 | MI-9
2006: Senate | Governor
2004: President

Polling Data

PollDateSampleBenishek (R)McDowell (D)Spread
Final Results----51.940.9Benishek +11.0
EPIC-MRA10/17 - 10/18400 LV4240Benishek +2
The Hill/Penn, Schoen & Berland (D)10/2 - 10/7401 LV4239Benishek +3
WeAskAmerica8/4 - 8/41016 RV4529Benishek +16

Previous Election Results

  2008: Stupak (D) 65%, Casperson (R) 33%   2008: Obama (D) 50%, McCain (R) 48%
  2006: Stupak (D) 69%, Hooper (R) 28%   2004: Bush (R) 53%, Kerry (D) 46%
  2004: Stupak (D) 66%, Hooper (R) 33%   2000: Bush (R) 53%, Gore (D) 47%

Race Analysis

Michigan’s 1st Congressional District covers the Upper Peninsula, and the northeastern portion of the “mitt.” The Upper Peninsula supplies most of the Democratic vote for the district and about half of the overall vote. Overall, this is marginally Republican political territory, having given George W. Bush 53 percent of the vote and Barack Obama 50 percent of the vote.

Bart Stupak, a former Michigan state trooper and member of the Michigan House of Representatives, was elected to represent the district in 1992. He’s been a champion vote-getter ever since, never falling below 57 percent of the vote despite the district’s “swing” nature. The secret to Stupak’s success was a mixture of economic populism with social conservatism; it was his insistence that forced the House to adopt strict limitations on the use of federal funds for abortion in the health care reform bill before the provisions were watered down by the Senate.

Stupak opted to retire this year, setting off a stampede of potential officeholders. Democrats quickly coalesced around State Rep. Gary McDowell, who hails from the Upper Peninsula. He will face Republican surgeon Dan Benishek, who squeaked by state Sen. Jason Allen by a handful of votes in the GOP primary.