Even the Democratic candidate's pollster calls it a "long shot," but progressive groups are pouring money into the Michigan 6th District in the final weeks of the campaign, hoping to score an unexpected -- and still very unlikely -- upset of House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
They have quite a climb to push Democratic candidate Paul Clements past Upton, who heads one of the more powerful committees in the House and has represented the district since 1987. Earlier this month, Clements pollster David Beattie found Upton leading, 50 percent to 35 percent. The race had narrowed ever so slightly since August, when Upton was up 57 percent to 37 percent, but it is still a huge gap to close in the last month of a campaign.
"Yeah, it's a long shot, but it's not a long shot about changing the electorate. It is about picking up voters already supporting a Democrat in the Senate race," Beattie told TPM. The district voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and he lost by only one point in 2012. It also supports Democratic Senate candidate Gary Peters in his race, 50 percent to 38 percent, earlier this month, according to Beattie's polling.
So there are voters who will back Democrats to be won, and Upton does have some liabilities: 67 percent of voters say that he is a "typical politician" and 51 percent say that he "has become more partisan and political." Those would be the people that Clements, who is still working on his name recognition, needs to pick up.
There is just a touch of smoke -- Upton's people have reportedly been calling and berating donors to a big-money group that is pouring money into the race in a last-ditch effort to boost Clements, a Western Michigan University professor, to a shocking win over one of the longest-tenured House Republicans.
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