WASHINGTON (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden heads to Michigan Monday to lend a helping hand to two freshman House Democrats who could face tough re-election bids next year. Will their votes on health care reform makes those bids even more difficult?
Biden headlines a fundraising event in Detroit for Michigan Democratic Party. Co-hosting the event are Congressmen Mark Schauer and Gary Peters. Both representatives voted in favor the health care reform bill that passed 220-215 in the House Saturday night.
The National Republican Campaign Committee is targeting the health care votes by Schauer and Peters.
"While Vice President Biden throws a lavish fundraiser to reward Mark Schauer and Gary Peters for their votes on the trillion dollar government takeover of healthcare, more than fifteen percent of Michiganders are out on the street looking for work," says NRCC spokesman Tom Erickson in a Monday morning statement. "If we're going to put Michigan back to work, voters will need to elect new leadership and fire Schauer and Peters, who have continually backed the reckless policies of Nancy Pelosi that create more government at the expense of the jobs that Michigan needs."
Democrats said the votes should give Schauer and Peters an edge next year.
"Mark Schauer and Gary Peters both have strong records of delivering for their districts and helping to create jobs in order to turn Michigan's economy around, responds Gabby Adler, Midwest Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Voters in Michigan know that Health Insurance Reform is a key component of a long term economic recovery for Michigan workers and businesses of all sizes, and encouraged Schauer and Peters to support the legislation. Mark Schauer and Gary Peters have an undeniable advantage heading into 2010 because of their already significant legislative achievements and because of their prolific fundraising that no GOP candidate in Michigan has even come close to."
Schauer ousted Republican Rep. Tim Walberg in last year's election, winning by by 3 points in Michigan's 7th congressional district, which Barack Obama won by 5 points. He could be facing a rematch in 2010, as Walberg has already announced his candidacy - if he makes it past what could be a tough primary battle. Both the non-partisan Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report say the district's contest is likely to be competitive next year.
Peters topped Republican Rep. Joe Knollenberg by 9 points in last year's election in the 9th congressional district, which Obama won by 7 points.
"The health care vote is another piece of ammunition that Republicans will use against Schauer and Peters," says Nathan Gonzalez, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. "I think Republicans are more optimistic about Schauer. It's more of a Republican district.
Republicans have always seen an opportunity in the 7th and this health care vote adds to their optimism. This is going to be a top race next year."
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn