Michigan held its primaries yesterday, and one Congressional seat in particular turned into a nailbiter for the Republicans. Bart Stupak (D) retired after managing to anger everyone in his district by flip-flopping on ObamaCare and abortion, and the GOP hoped to turn this R+3 district into a pickup. Unfortunately for the GOP, the race turned into a dead heat, for practical purposes (h/t HipEChik on Twitter):
Crystal Falls physician Dan Benishek held a paper-thin lead early today over state Sen. Jason Allen in the Republican nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District.
With 99 percent of the vote counted, Benishek led Allen by 39 votes, 27,097 to 27,058. Two precincts in Bay County had yet to report vote totals by 1 a.m.
That was at 1 AM. As of 7 am, the race looked a lot closer — with Benishek leading by a single vote, 27,091 to 27,090. That means that the state will almost certainly have to hold a recount, if these vote totals remain in place. Allen could concede, but with a single vote’s difference, he’ll at least want to step through a recalculation of precinct totals to double-check the math (which has been known to uncover simple arithmetic errors).
The photo finish will keep Republicans tied up while the Democrat, state Representative Gary McDowell, proceeds with his campaign. Hopefully, that will only mean a delay of a few days, but if either candidate decides to challenge for a recount and keep pressing, it could take the GOP out of the game in the Upper Peninsula for a few precious weeks.
McDowell shouldn’t count his chickens too early, however. Republicans won the turnout battle in MI-01 by more than 2-1 despite Michigan having its constitutional officers on the ticket. That portends a big GOP turnout in the general election in this district, and a big advantage to whichever Republican eventually wins the nomination.
The big lesson: Don’t ever let anyone convince you that a single vote doesn’t count.