POLITICAL CRYSTAL BALL
Even before members of the 116th Congress were sworn in, political prognosticators began predicting who will have the advantage in 2020 and beyond. In December, the Cook Report, an independent newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns, ranked Michigan’s 11th District, currently held by Democrat Haley Stevens (Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills) as “leaning Democrat,” while fellow Democrat of the 8th, Elissa Slotkin’s (Rochester, Rochester Hills) is already considered a toss-up district. “Generally, the most vulnerable Democrats are those whose 2018 margins of victory were smaller than Trump’s 2016 margin in the district,” the report summarized. That means Slotkin, who beat out former Republican Congressman Mike Bishop by 3.8 points compared to Trump’s margin of 6.7 in the district, could have a closely contested race in 2020. Stevens, who beat her Republican challenger Lena Epstein by 6.6 points, compared to Trump’s 4.4 point margin in the district in 2016, is considered to be in a “lean Democratic” district, despite it having been gerrymandered as a “safe” Republican district in 2010, with her party having an advantage. Statewide, the Cook report in January ranked Democratic Senator Gary Peters as holding a solid Democratic district that isn’t expected to be closely contested.