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Friday, April 25 — Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett has reportedly dropped out of the Republican primary race to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers in the 8th Congressional District. It sets up a Republican primary between former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and state Rep. Tom McMillin.
Susan Demas, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, said this is “bad news for Mike Bishop,” who was likely hoping for a three-way primary to help split up votes.
McMillin is a favorite of tea party and “liberty movement” Republicans, Demas said. “Tom McMillin has a strong reputation as a strong conservative. That will help him quite a bit with the very conservative electorate of Livingston County,” she said.
Demas also said Barnett would have struggled with less name I.D. than McMillin and Bishop. “He would have had to spend an awful lot of money to make it competitive,” she added.
The Democratic primary is shaping up to be a four-way race between Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing, Lansing attorney Jeffrey Hank, Central Michigan University Professor Susan Grettenberger and retired state demographer Ken Darga.
Schertzing is the most well known of the Democrats and his candidacy has attracted the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has called the 8th District a competitive race for Democrats to pick up. Rogers has served the district since 2000.
While it will be an “uphill battle” for Democrats to pick up the seat during what will likely be a good year for Republicans, Demas said, they could likely score a “moral victory” if they get Republicans to spend time and money in the district, which has a 54 percent Republican base.