Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.
2006 we were hit with a Democratic tsunami. Heck, we all lived through it and it was pretty darn nasty. Nationwide not a single Democrat incumbent running for a Governor’s seat, a seat in the United States Senate or to Congress lost. Not one. A lot of folks are looking at 2008 and saying “here we go again,” and if you went off nothing but poll numbers being issued by Democratic pollsters in Democratic towns like Washington, DC you’d think they were right.
Here in Michigan, though, thanks to a catastrophic, economy crippling Democrat sponsored tax hike there’s one race that’s bringing a little sunshine into the lives of conservative observers across the state. House Speaker Andy Dillon, the man running for reelection most responsible for that new $1.5 billion that cash strapped Michigan moms and dads are paying the tax collector this year finds himself with not only one race on his hands… but two.
The Ivory Tower checks in on the two-fisted conundrum facing the tax-hiker from the 17th and Dillon assures them that he’s fine:
Yeah right, countered Leon Drolet, a former Republican lawmaker from Macomb County who heads an antitax group that was the driving force behind the recall campaign.
If Dillon is so comfortable, Drolet asked, why are he and state Democrats mailing out piles of expensive campaign literature in a safe district and a great year for Democrats?
Voters are still angry about how state leaders responded to last year’s budget crisis, Drolet said, and Dillon is acting like he knows it.
Piles doesn’t begin to describe it. There is a concerted, expensive effort underway to maintain control of what is universally considered a “safe” Dem district. Of course, these are Democrats and they usually don’t play nice. Their latest ad campaign is targeted squarely at Dillon’s challenger, a woman who only six months ago was a virtual political unknown, is running on a shoestring budget and taking on the most powerful legislator in the entire state.
Sandra Eggers has been targeted with negative attack after negative attack. Only problem is, none of them have stuck and Dillon’s campaign is being forced to pivot and fire again. And again. And again.
If you’re a Redford Township resident you’re probably just about sick of negative campaign mail. Pro-Dillon forces dropped three negative attack pieces against Eggers between Monday and Friday of last week alone. Three unique attack ads in the course of one week.
That’s what the folks in the biz like to call “saturation.” And it isn’t the only indication that Dillon is worried sick.
Detroit Public Television invited Eggers and Dillon to appear together to debate the issues facing Redford Township voters and Dillon ducked her. DPTV was so disappointed in his decision, they went ahead and invited Eggers onto the set to discuss the issues by her lonesome (which you can watch in two parts, here and here).
Carl Levin is polling twenty-five points ahead of Jack Hoogendyk and yeah, it took him a few months to finally commit, but he wound up debating his challenger twice. When you have a wide lead in the polls you don’t worry about doing the head-to-head. You duck your challenger when things are close and you can’t avoid to give her an edge.
The public message from the Dillon camp is one of confidence and self assurance. They’re going to win and they know it, they’ll tell you. Not losing a wink of sleep. But if you speak to the average Wayne County Democrat and assure them they’re off the record you’ll hear a palpable fear in their voices. This thing is a contest. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
If last week’s suddenly heightened insider buzz around a major cash infusion for the anti-Dillon forces proves to have been accurate things will only get more interesting.
Meanwhile, Eggers keeps pounding the pavement and knocking on doors. Quite a difference in styles, when you think about it. She’s personally taking her positive message of change and lower taxes for struggling families right to folks’ front porches. Dillon is sitting in a high-backed chair in Lansing letting his big dollar donors pay for negative mailing after negative mailing, either oblivious or uninterested in the life altering problems afflicting his constituents.
In the 17th House District the GOP is on offense. In one of the few places in the nation, let alone the state of Michigan, a powerful, incumbent Democrat is being challenged on his record while his Republican challenger delivers a positive message of fiscal responsibility.
And when you look at it in those terms, it’s really no wonder at all the margin in this race is closing.