Michigan’s First Congressional District is huge. To get some idea of how big it is, it takes roughly five hours to drive from the shore near Drummond Island on its eastern edge, to Ironwood on the far west. It encompasses the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan. And the odious Bart Stupak represents this whole district in congress.
In days of yore, the district was a more typically gerrymandered abomination, with it extending down to grab Alpena in the Lower Peninsula –which, as a industrial port town, had a stronger pro-union bent. When Republicans reapportioned the state after the 2000 census (they had control in Lansing), they hoped to create a district in the Upper Peninsula that was more reflective of the actual population of the Upper Peninsula (-or, as it is referred to by Michiganders, “The U.P.”); It is thinly populated mostly with loggers, small business owners, and rugged individuals. Of course, the district also has its share of university employees (There are two important State Universities in the UP), along with the unemployed and similar other sucklings at the public trough. But, on the whole, it is a fairly conservative area, and the Republican hope was to make a somewhat reliably conservative district.
In fact, of the 14 counties that make up his district, only two went for Barack Obama in 2008. And, more importantly, only two voted (barely) for the passage of Proposal 2. This ballot initiative was to outlaw most forms of fetal Stem Cell Research in the state, and the measure was defeated. But, the Upper Peninsula is a strongly Pro-Life area, being very traditionally religious, and in the UP, the measure won resoundingly.
The point is this: Bart Stupak can be defeated this fall. Now, granted, Stupak racks up electoral victories usually in the 60-70% range. But, this is owing only to a couple of factors:
First— He tries to continually burnish his pro-life bona fides. There are a LOT of old-line Catholics and Lutherans in the Upper Peninsula, and this issue is of paramount importance there. So, he’s been able to dance around the subject, but he cannot hide from his bright-as-the-sun exposure as a Pro-Abort this time ’round. Licking the boots of the most radically pro-abortionist to ever seek the presidency (and eventually win it), Bart Stupak has at last been profoundly unmasked.
Second— Stupak has won mostly on name recognition, especially if one considers the overall voting patterns of the UP. Bart Stupak has done a masterful job of staying in the headlines year after year, first as a congressman that was going to “look at the facts” regarding the Clinton Impeachment, and then with the tragic suicide of his son and the Congressman’s subsequent targeting of the pharmaceutical firm that made his son’s anti-acne medication, and then as the Official Abortion Hawk on health care. He’s often mentioned as a gubernatorial candidate. But, this year, the Michigan GOP has wisely gotten into the fray early, and is helping Dr. Dan Benischek right now with a very voluminous Anti-Stupak radio campaign.
Remember, Martha Coakley was up by some 35% in Massachusetes, less than a month before Scott Brown spanked her by six percentage points. The defeat of Bart Stupak will show what an historic defeat the Democrats will suffer in the fall, and it is well within reach.