Via CQ Politics:
Ehlers Expected to Announce Retirement Wednesday
Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers (R-Mich.) will make an announcement about his "future plans" Wednesday morning, and he is expected to say that he will not seek re-election. Michigan TV station WWMT Newschannel 3 as well as Hotline's On Call blog, citing anonymous sources, are reporting that Ehlers will announce that he is retiring.
The 76-year-old Congressman released a statement Tuesday saying he will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. ET in Grand Rapids to address "speculation about his plans to continue serving West Michigan."
Ehlers statement was followed an announcement from first-term state Rep. Justin Amash (R) that he will run for the seat.
The district, which lies in West-Central Michigan and takes in Grand Rapids, the state's second most populous city, is likely to stay in GOP hands whether or not Ehlers runs for a ninth term. The district's residents were evenly split in the 2008 presidential election -- giving 49 percent each to President Barack Obama (D) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- but the district went by a double digit margin for President George W. Bush (R) in 2000 and 2004.
Ehlers has been comfortably re-elected since winning a 1993 special election.
CQ Politics rates the general election contest Safe Republican.
See Republican Michigander's 3rd district profile here: Congressional District 3 (Updated)
The 3rd district is full of Republican elected officials, so there could be a highly contested primary. RM lists some possible candidates: "Justin Amash and Bill Hardiman are mentioned, but I'd watch for former Lt Governor Dick Posthumus, Jerry Zandstra, one of the Glenn Steils, Ken Sikkema, Mark Jansen, Brian Calley, Gary Newell, Kevin Green, and Tom Pearce to make a run, along with a possible countywide officer from Kent County."
An Ehlers retirement this year is good news, as this is expected to be a good Republican year and with the state senate district containing Grand Rapids open, some of the more credible democrat candidates may run for that instead.
Also good news is that Ehlers' replacement is almost certain to be an improvement for conservatives. Ehlers is a moderate who has a sorry 69% lifetime ACU rating, worst of Michigan Republicans.