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  [MI-09] Top Dem Recruit Puts Heat on GOP House Veteran in Suburban Detroit Battleground
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ContributorArmyDem 
Last EditedArmyDem  Sep 20, 2007 07:09pm
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News DateFriday, September 21, 2007 01:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy Marc Rehmann | 3:15 PM; Sep. 20, 2007 | Email This Article

Michigan Republican Joe Knollenberg coasted to easy victories in most of his first seven House contests, winning by a 19 percentage-point margin as recently as 2004. But his 9th District in suburban Detroit is hardly an overall Republican stronghold. And while Knollenberg won an eighth term in the tough anti-Republican political environment of 2006, he saw his edge slip to 5 points over Nancy Skinner, a radio talk show host who was not heralded by Democratic officials as one of their top House challengers.

This turn in events has elevated the interest of Democratic strategists in competing next year for the seat, which is wholly located in Oakland County, and to portray Knollenberg as the most vulnerable among the nine Republican House incumbents from Michigan.

And the Democrats head into 2008 with their top candidate recruit officially in the running: Gary Peters, a former state senator who recently resigned his post as the state’s chief lottery officer to prepare for the House race, announced his long-expected candidacy in early August.

Yet it doesn’t appear that Knollenberg, coming off his closest House general election in his career, will be caught unaware of the serious challenge he will face in next year’s election. He hired campaign manager Mike Brownfield this summer, making it the earliest that the veteran congressman has ever started gearing up for a re-election campaign. Last week, he revamped his Web site to be more attractive to media-savvy voters: His home page now includes a daily blog, clips of him on Youtube.com and an opportunity for supporters to register as his “friend” on Facebook.com, a popular social networking Web site.
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