Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Take That, Will Rogers

We presume that a fair number of readers are familiar with the old line from the humorist Will Rogers: "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." That is also a familiar lament among modern Democrats, albeit in less witty form.

Politico has an interesting piece right now that makes clear this perception is not always reality. It's about the soon-to-be open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan. In essence, the retirement of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has been a finely choreographed ballet. The Senator made her decision several months ago but, before announcing it publicly, did a lot of legwork behind the scenes (as did Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY). They steered ambitious Michigander politicians to other opportunities, and kept the decks clear for Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), the person that Democratic leadership agrees is the most electable person they currently have on the bench.

This process stands in contrast to, say, California. There, the Democratic Senate race has been something of a circus, with two or three candidates declaring (depending on how you count Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA) even before the retirement of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was official. But in the Golden State, Michigan-level choreography was neither possible nor necessary. It wasn't possible because Feinstein has lost her fastball, and probably isn't capable of doing the sort of legwork that Stabenow did. And it wasn't necessary because California is so blue, and the Republican bench there is so thin, that the seat will remain in Democratic hands pretty much no matter what happens. Not the case in Michigan, of course.

In any case, it's an interesting story. And these machinations strongly suggest that Slotkin is not going to draw any serious competition. In turn, that means she'll enter the general with a pile of money and with the full backing of the Democratic Party. So, this seat does not look to be in serious danger. Unlike, say, West Virginia, Ohio, or Montana. (Z)

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