For the second time in a week, a key House committee chairman from Michigan announced that he will not seek re-election later this year. Ways & Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R-MI-4) yesterday made official his plans to retire from the House at the end of this Congress.
Late last week, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI-8), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he will forgo re-election to an eighth term in order to launch a new national radio program. Much political movement is occurring right now in the Wolverine State because the Michigan candidate filing deadline is fast approaching on April 22.
Camp, originally elected in 1990, would end his tenure as the full committee chairman at the end of this Congress irrespective of his re-election status because he will have served the maximum six years as chairman or ranking member under the House Republican Conference internal organizational rule. Speculation surrounding Camp’s possible retirement has bounded for months.
The 4th District of Michigan is in the central region of the state, comprised of 13 whole counties and parts of two others. Its major population centers are the cities of Midland, the congressman’s hometown, and Mt. Pleasant. The district is predominantly rural with a Republican trend. Mitt Romney carried the district over President Obama by a 53-45 percent count in 2012, but the previous election turned out differently. Back in 2008, Obama scored a tight 50-49 percent win here against John McCain.
Potential candidates will be making fast moves to enter these two new open seat campaigns. It appears that state Sen. John Moolenaar (R-Midland), who represents a large portion of the congressional district in the legislature, is a probable candidate and could open with the inside track to securing the nomination and the seat. Expect more people from both parties to come to the forefront during the next few days.
Conversely, the 8th District race is becoming a bit clearer. Former Oakland County sheriff and 2006 US Senate nominee Mike Bouchard and state Rep. Bill Rogers, the congressman’s brother, both say they will not seek the Republican nomination in the open Lansing-anchored seat.
Two other Republicans, however, officially entered the contest. Former state Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Bishop and Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett will run for the CD-8 seat. Prior to his original election in 2000, Rep. Rogers was also the state Senate majority floor leader. In addition to serving the maximum eight years in the Senate, Bishop was twice elected to the state House.