09/17/2010 11:19 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Politics Of The Michigan 1st: Political Bookies Call The Race

Since 1993 Congressman Bart Stupak has represented Michigan's 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stupak's seat is now open, and the race for it pits Democrat Gary McDowell, who has served in the Michigan State House of Representatives since 2004, against Dan Benishek, a physician who's running as a "career surgeon, not a career politician," with the support of Michigan Tea Party groups, according to Benishek's web site.

Which candidate has the edge?

A September 6, 2010 headline from the Wall Street Journal declares, "Get Ready for an Anti-Incumbent Wave". A Labor Day poll conducted by the newspaper concludes that,

"A tide of national unhappiness and disenchantment...has been building all year....The share [of voters polled] who think the country is generally on the wrong track now stands at 61%, up from 48% a year ago."

This sense of dissatisfaction augurs well for Republican candidates, so say the pollsters at the WSJ.

On September 7, 2010,'s "House Tracker" went up. Along with information about campaign cash on hand, the latest polls (though not for this race), and fundraising numbers, there is "up to date handicapping" of each U.S. Congressional race, including the race for Stupak's seat.

Three political analysts including Charlie Cook, who publishes the Cook Political Report Stu Rothenberg who publishes the Rothenberg Political Report, and University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato predict the outcome of the McDowell-Benishek match-up. The projections on conclude that the race to represent Michigan's First Congressional District, one of the geographically largest Congressional Districts in the United States, is a toss-up. lists the available cash on hand (COH) for each candidate. McDowell's campaign has $131,575 dollars COH, and Benishek's campaign COH totals $131,418. According to documents posted to the Federal Election Committee web site, as of July 14, 2010 Benishek had raised $449,090 dollars in donations and McDowell had raised $146,835 dollars.