Rogers exit could trigger competitive race

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers's (R-Mich.) decision to retire opens up a potentially competitive seat for House Republicans to defend.

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His district stretches from Lansing through central Michigan to Detroit's suburbs and leans slightly Republican — native son and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) won it by 3 percentage points in 2012, but President Obama won it in 2008.

Rogers originally won his seat by just 111 votes in 2000, though the district has since been redrawn to lean a bit more Republican. Since then, he's never dipped below 55 percent in any of his reelection bids.

The retirement could be well timed for the GOP as well — Michigan Republicans shored up their incumbents across the state with a clever gerrymander after the 2010 elections, and 2014 is shaping up to be a good year nationally for Republicans, meaning it might be a good time for Rogers to try to pass off his seat to another Republican. But operatives in both parties say the open-seat race could be competitive.

Potential GOP candidates for the seat include Rogers's brother, Michigan state Rep. Bill Rogers (R), former Michigan House Speaker Craig DeRoche (R), and former Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R). On the Democratic side, Central Michigan University Prof. Susan Grettenberger (D) was already in the race, and Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum (D) might be interested in a bid.

Democrats predict a competitive race.

"Voters in Michigan’s eighth congressional district have shown that this district is competitive – supporting President Obama in 2008 and nearly in 2012 – and they're hungry for an agenda that puts the middle class first," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "There are now 11 Republican-controlled open seats that have been made more competitive by departures, expanding our battlefield and giving Democrats some of our best opportunities across the country."

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) predicted the GOP would hold the seat.

"I wish Mike and his family all the best and have every confidence we will elect another Republican leader from this district in November," he said in a statement.

— This post was last updated at 11:45 a.m.

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