The Washington Post

Rogers’s retirement sets off scramble for Michigan seat. Here are the ones to watch.

The decision by popular Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) to retire sparked fresh Democratic optimism Friday about competing for a seat that would otherwise have been out of their reach. But Republicans still have the upper hand there.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), left, is retiring at the end of his term. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A crowded field of candidates could scramble to run for Rogers's seat with less than a month until the filing deadline. Democratic enthusiasm was spurred in part by the lean of the district, which tilts toward Republicans, but not by much. Mitt Romney won 51 percent of the district in the 2012 presidential election, while President Obama carried 48 percent. Obama won 52 percent in that district in 2008.

"Voters in Michigan’s eighth congressional district have shown that this district is competitive – supporting President Obama in 2008 and nearly in 2012 – and they’re hungry for an agenda that puts the middle class first," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.).

In a radio interview Monday, Rogers did not dispute the suggestion that his brother, Bill, a state legislator, might run for the Lansing area seat. In addition to Bill Rogers, Republicans familiar with the district pointed to former state Senate majority leader Mike Bishop (R), former state House speaker Craig DeRoche (R) and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard (R) as three more possibilities. Another name to watch: Former state GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, who will consider it.

A Democrat familiar with the district pointed to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum (D) as a potential candidate. Bynum performed the state's first same-sex marriage ceremony this week, and her mother ran a very competitive campaign against Rogers in 2000.

Potential candidates won't have much time to make up their minds: The filing deadline is April 22.

Republicans are confident they can hold the seat, even without Rogers. They noted that Florida's 13th District, which is more favorable to Democrats, didn't slip into their hands in a recent special election. And in a non-presidential year, it will be difficult for Democrats to ramp turnout and spring an upset in Michigan's 8th District.

"I wish Mike and his family all the best and have every confidence we will elect another Republican leader from this district in November," said National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.).

Rogers is the third member of the Wolverine States's congressional delegation to opt for retirement. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) are also stepping down.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Democrats debated Thursday night. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Chris Cillizza on the Democratic debate...
On Clinton: She poked a series of holes in Sanders's health-care proposal and broadly cast him as someone who talks a big game but simply can't hope to achieve his goals.

On Sanders: If the challenge was to show that he could be a candidate for people other than those who already love him, he didn't make much progress toward that goal. But he did come across as more well-versed on foreign policy than in debates past.
The PBS debate in 3 minutes
We are in vigorous agreement here.
Hillary Clinton, during the PBS Democratic debate, a night in which she and Sanders shared many of the same positions on issues
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.