Another day, another influential member of Michigan's congressional delegation opts for retirement. On Monday, it was House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R), whose seat remains favored to stay in Republican hands this November, even as Democrats stand a better chance with Camp out of the picture.
Camp's north central Michigan district leans Republican, giving the GOP the upper hand headed toward the November midterm election, barring an upset. Mitt Romney won 54 percent there in 2012, though President Obama carried it narrowly in 2008. The nonpartisan Cook Report had rated Camp's seat as "Solid Republican" under the assumption that Camp would run for another term. Camp routinely won with more than 60 percent of the vote during his more than two decades in the House.
State Sen. John Moolenaar (R) is a potential candidate to watch, Republicans with an eye on the district said Tuesday. Other GOP names being bandied about include state GOP finance chairman Paul Mitchell, stat Sen. Roger Kahn, state Rep. Kevin Cotter, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Attorney General Bill Schuette.
"Dave Camp has been an outstanding Congressman for mid-Michigan and for America. His ability to reach consensus on a wide variety of issues from trade and export policies to adoption and tax reform has been exceptional. The Congress will miss Dave's expertise and steady hand. Mid-Michigan will miss his phenomenal leadership," Schuette said in a statement.
A Democrat familiar with the 4th district pointed to former state House legislators Dale and Joel Sheltrown as Democratic possibilities. The party will need to nominate a conservative Democrat in order to have any hopes of competing in November, strategists said.
Potential candidates looking to replace Camp will have little time to decide whether to run. The filing deadline is April 22.
"Dave is a committed family man and, though I’m sad to see him leave, I’m comforted to know he’ll be spending more time with Nancy and the kids. I look forward to electing and working with another Republican leader from this district," said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.).
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) sounded an optimistic note about competing for Camp's seat. “Voters in Michigan’s fourth district have a history of backing members of both parties, supporting President Obama in 2008, and their hunger for an agenda that strengthens the middle class will make this district competitive," he said.
Camp is fourth member of the Michigan congressional delegation — and the second in four days — to announce plans to step down. Already Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) — the longest-serving member in congressional history — have announced their retirements.
Ed O'Keefe contributed to this post.