The Campaign Spot

Is Michigan’s 1st District Race Really That Competitive?

Dan Benishek’s campaign does a terrific job of keeping me in the loop on developments in the House race in Michigan’s sprawling 1st district, but the storyline doesn’t seem to change. With the departure of Bart Stupak, who outraged many pro-lifers by voting for Obamacare, the district appears inclined to elect the GOP doctor whose interest in running was triggered by the health-care legislation.

The race is getting nasty, but to echo a point made by Peggy Noonan today, I don’t know if the usual grainy-photo personal-misdeed attack-ad fodder works when the public is outraged about what’s going on in Washington.

And it appears Benishek is ahead by more than a little:

The Tea Party is giving Crystal Falls physician Dan BENISHEK an edge over Rep. Gary MCDOWELL (D-Rudyard) in the 1st Congressional District race, based on the results of an automated poll released today. The Rossman Group-Team TelCom poll shows 42 percent favoring Benishek and 34 percent choosing McDowell. About 16 percent were undecided, with four other candidates splitting up the rest. They’re vying for the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Bart STUPAK (D-Menominee) in the state’s Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. “After winning a tough primary by the slimmest of margins, Benishek seems to be making the most of the mood for change in this district so far,” said Josh HOVEY of the Rossman Group. “McDowell may be well-liked and a hard worker, but he is definitely swimming upstream in this race.”

Add in some top-of-the-ticket help from GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Snyder, and Benishek appears to be in the driver’s seat, no matter how nasty this race gets.

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