Welcome to my diary series titled Majority Savers! I will run a new article every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. The goal of this series is to highlight races that may make or break our current slender majorities in Congress. That means I will start more with incumbent Senators and House members until some primary elections are settled. If I have time, I will expand it to governors as well in critical swing states.
If you want to find my previous entries in this series, I recommend following me or searching for Majority Savers as a tag!
I have six ground rules behind the philosophy of this series. I’d ask you all to respect them as best you can, because these are taking me quite a long time to write. Here are my ground rules.
This House incumbent is from a political dynasty that has served the Flint area since the 1970’s. He has never had to face serious GOP opposition in his prior elections, which makes him particularly vulnerable in 2022. He is exactly the type of candidate that I am looking to highlight with Majority Savers. Please go below the fold to read about Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan’s 8th district!
This section is not meant to be a full biography of Rep. Dan Kildee. If you wish to read his full bio, click this link.
- Kildee is a lifelong resident of Flint and is part of the politically influential Kildee family, which has represented Flint and surrounding areas since 1973.
- He was Genesee County Treasurer for about a decade and a half before running for Congress. That means he has lots of experience in making and sticking to budgets. It’s no shock he’s on the Ways and Means and Budget committees.
- He helped found the first community land bank in the USA in an attempt to fix urban blight and decay. Many other places have used this idea as a model for fighting urban decay and tearing town dilapidated houses.
Rep. Dan Kildee has a DW Nominate score of -0.39, which puts him right in the center of the Democratic House caucus. He is more liberal than 75% of the entire body of the House, and he is more liberal than 51% of the House caucus. His votes reflect a safe district, not a swing seat. He largely hasn't adjusted his votes at all and is a reliable vote for the agenda of President Biden.
Urban Decay: Perhaps he is the candidate that highlights this issue outside of a big city incumbent more than any other. Kildee is always seeking funds to demolish vacant properties and for neighborhood stabilization. He also constantly seeks out funds to help cities such as Flint and Saginaw fight violent crimes. Both cities are very high on the murder per capita rate in the USA.
Clean Water: Being the member of Congress from Flint means that seeking ways to remove lead pipes and also find ways to remediate lead in water are a must. Being near the Great Lakes only adds to the importance of this issue for Kildee. He constantly looks for ways to make sure that clean, affordable water is not a luxury but a right for all.
Health Care: Kildee wants Medicare to be able to negotiate prescription drug prices, and he constantly fights to keep the ACA affordable for all consumers. Kildee also has worked to end surprise medical billing while in Congress. He is also 100% pro-choice, which is especially important as abortion rights are being chipped away before our very eyes.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: Joe Biden (D) 50.3%, TFG (R-inc) 48.2%
2020 House: Dan Kildee (D-inc) 54.4%, Tim Kelly (R) 41.8%
2022 Race Rating: Tossup
2022 PVI: R+1
Flint and the Tri-Cities of Midland/Bay City/Saginaw used to be in separate districts. While the Flint district has been reliably Democratic since the Kildee family was elected in the 1970s, the other district containing the Tri-Cities was more of a swing seat that both parties controlled depending upon the district lines.
These two districts were partially merged in 2000 redistricting, which pitted two Democratic members in the same district. One dropped down to the state Senate, while Dale Kildee (the uncle of Dan Kildee) started to represent Saginaw and Bay City in addition to Flint. The three working class cities were very securely Democratic and even during the 2010 wipeout there wasn’t much fuss.
The problems for Rep. Dale Kildee started in 2016. That’s when TFG appealed to the working class elements found in this district and narrowed the margins down to a 50%-46% win for Hillary Clinton. That meant that in the Trump era this district could fall. This was repeated when Biden only won the district 51%-47% in 2020.
Population losses meant that Midland had to be added to the district as well, which made the district even more of a swing seat. For a political family used to not facing general election opposition, this will be a huge test of their political chops. He faces a credible opponent in TV anchor Paul Junge, one that nearly knocked off fellow Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin in 2020.
Political Tour of the District
I was unable to locate a handy map of this district online, so you will have to believe me when I say that this district covers Flint and the Tri-Cities of Michigan in 2022. Kildee really lucked out in that the independent commission chose to link up these areas together, because prior drafts had him totally wiped out by attaching Flint to the Thumb of Michigan. This district is winnable, even though it will be a tough slog.
Here’s where this race will be won in the 8th district.
- Flint: Even though this city is losing population dramatically due to the Flint Water Crisis, it is still the richest source of votes for the Democratic Party in this district. The Kildee family is from Flint, so it is vitally important that every vote possible can be found here.
- Saginaw: Out of the Michigan Tri-Cities, Saginaw is definitely the most friendly of them to the Democratic Party. It is the other rich source of votes in the district and Kildee must run up the score in this city to offset areas trending away from us elsewhere in the district.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Midland and Bay City: Bay City is trending away from us, as it is the type of blue collar town that found TFG appealing. Midland is a Dow Chemical company town that is trending our way. It has traditionally been heavily GOP, but that is changing as educated voters trend our way. Kildee will have to balance out courting both sets of voters to win this district.
- Flint Suburbs: Obama hit a high water mark in 2008 by winning these suburbs of Flint, and he kept them in his corner in 2012 as well. These suburbs surrounding Flint trended sharply to the right when TFG ran, and it is important that Kildee manage to win some of these voters over to his cause.
- Rural Farming Areas: Many of the small towns and townships surrounding the four main cities have enough votes in them to be the determining factor in a close race. Kildee must hope that these areas do not turnout as much as the cities, or he will lose as these areas vote lopsidedly for the GOP nowadays.
Activism — Help How You Can!
In Quarter 1, Rep. Kildee raised $869k, which shows that he is taking this race very seriously. He raised nearly four times as much through donations as his challenger. However, his challenger is a type that can self-fund a million dollars (which is what he did), meaning Junge (a former news anchor in the area) outraised Kildee for the quarter.
After Quarter 1, Kildee has a decent $2.44 MILLION cash on hand, which should be enough in the cheaper media markets he has to advertise in. His opponent Junge only has $1.15 MILLION cash on hand, most of it self-funded. This race has the potential to get very expensive, which is why I recommend chipping in a small donation to Kildee if possible.
DONATE TO REP. KILDEE HERE
If social media is more important than cash donations, you can choose to follow Kildee on Twitter. He only has 6,265 followers, which means he is as obscure as some of the challengers I have highlighted. It will be tough for him to get out his message on social media with so few followers.
If Facebook is more your social media outlet, go ahead and follow him at Kildee.
Finally, the best way to get involved at this time is to visit his campaign website and sign up, at https://www.dankildee.com/.
Thank you for reading this edition of the Majority Savers! Rep. Dan Kildee is definitely the type of incumbent we need to save if Speaker Pelosi is to keep her gavel after the 2022 elections. Again, I make the point that he has never faced credible GOP opposition before, so this is a brand new experience for him and for this area of Michigan!