Michigan District 1 is the second-largest congressional district east of the Mississippi River by land area. It contains much of the northeastern part of the Lower Peninsula as well as the entire Upper Peninsula. The area is mainly rural and the median household income is $34,076. The workforce percentage is 51% white collar, 29. 8% blue collar, and 19. 5% services. The district consists 94. 1% non-Hispanic white, 1% Black, 1% of Hispanic, 1% foreign born, and 0% Asian (CQ Politics).
In the 2006 electoral elections, Bart Stupak represented the Democrats, Don Hooper represented the Republicans, David Newland represented the Greens, and Ken Proctor represented the Liberals. In this election, Bart Stupak won 180,448 votes, 69. 4% of votes while Don Hooper won 72,753 votes. Bart Stupak becomes the victor once again in the 2008 electoral elections against Republican Tom Casperson, Green Jean Treacy, and Libertarian Daniel Grow; he won 213,216 or 65% of the votes. Furthermore, in the 2008 presidential election, 50% of Michigan District 1 voters voted for Barack Obama while 48% voted for John McCain (CQ Politics).
There was no contested primary for the Democrats because the incumbent announced that he will retire at the end of term; the Democrats only had Gary McDowell running for the position. On the other hand, the Republicans had many candidates which included Dan Benishek, State Senator Jason Allen, Patrick Donlon, Linda Goldthorpe, Don Hooper, and Tom Stillings; Dan Benishek won the Republican primary. The race is competitive because it is an “open seat” due to the incumbent’s decision to retire. Democrats are trusting on state Representative Gary McDowell, whose beliefs are similar to those of incumbent, Bart Stupak.
On the contrary, Republicans are fighting to hold the seat in order to represent local opinions. The first major candidate is Republican Dan Benishek. Although Dan Benishek is only a general surgeon for Dickinson Country Healthcare System with no former political career, he is determined to express his disgust in all the spending in Washington and how people vote to spend their money without knowing where it is going or where it is coming from. He has received tremendous responses from people across the district but is seeking a lot more support in his campaign to “restore the American dream”. He served veterans at the Oscar G.
Johnson VA Medical Center since 1990 and he recently joined to work at Northstar Health System in Iron River. His campaign slogan is “Enough is Enough”. His opponent, Democrat Gary McDowell, is a native of the Upper Peninsula. He is the state representative for the 107th House District. He owns a 1,000 acre hay farming and distribution company in Rudyard called McDowell Hay, Inc and has served for over 20 years since 1981 as Treasurer for the company. He constantly pursues opportunities in public service in order to improve the community. He serves on the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners for 22 years and serves on numerous local boards.
Some major issues that are important to voters are gun rights, abortion, and unemployment. Benishek states that if elected, he would fight for reducing unemployment, lowering taxes, improving border security, reducing energy and resource dependency, prosecuting terrorists, and protecting the right to life. His number one issue is private-sector job creation; He states that the area needs to create jobs and although government does not create jobs, businesses do. He also adds that businesses are hesitate to hire people because of increasing taxes and mentions that if spending and taxes stop, people would be more willing to invest.
In regards to the tapped out resources, he informs of resources in the Upper Peninsula that need to be promoted and regulated. As for the right to life, he believes that life should be preserved. He argues about fiscal responsibility and about how the federal government is out of control and there needs to be an end to the government bail-outs, business takeovers, and growing entitlements; he states that it is time to make drastic cuts in spending, balance federal budget, and start paying down the growing national debt.
He also fights to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a bill allowing health insurance to be tax deductible, portable, and sold across state lines. Gary McDowell also argues that jobs can be created by using the natural resources in a safe and environmentally sustainable way; as well as, preparing for the future by making sure the universities and hospitals are top notch to attract the best and brightest to the area. Also like Benishek, McDowell fights to protect the right to keep and bear arms because he knows that hunting is a way of life in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan.
He supports Social Security and opposes any and all efforts to privatize Social Security, reduce benefits or raise the retirement age. The Benishek campaign spent $68,354, National Republican Campaign Committee spent $461,505, Americans for Prosperity spent $341,015, and American Future Fund spent $174,596. McDowell campaign spent $192,323, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $314,055, and Service Employees International Union spent $6,366 (Press).
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is focusing on diminishing support for Benishek by highlighting his support for privatizing social security and Medicare in a television ad. On the other hand, Benishek responds by informing people of Gary McDowell’s need to explain to seniors why he favors raising payroll taxes to fix the projected problem and, thus, killing more jobs. McDowell’s campaign tries to introduce their candidate to voters by emphasizing McDowell’s background as a hay farmer and trustworthy community member.
There is reduced spending by the Democrat party and low donation numbers to McDowell’s campaign. Benishek emphasizes the 4 R’s: Read It, Reduce It, Repeal It, and Reform It. He argues that the biggest change that could be made to Congress is to make them all read the bills they’re voting on. Also, he says that the national debt needs to be reduced but Congress will not stop spending; the healthcare bill needs to be repealed and replaced with real reforms to put patients.
Lastly, he argues that career politicians and special interests should be stopped and that taxpaying American citizens should speak out. Recent polls indicate that Benishek’s chance of winning the seat is 52. 1% while McDowell’s chance is 47. 9%;the winner will most likely `be Benishek because most voters prefer a congressman who will act as a check and balance on the president (Herszenhorn). Also, the fact that a congressman who comes from outside of the government and politics as opposed to a candidate who has experience as a state legislator.
People are responding to Benishek’s call to cut taxes, cut spending, and cut government regulation. I believe that Benishek has a higher chance of winning than McDowell because the issues that Benishek makes appeal more to the demographics of the rural community. He believes in having more representation of the opinions of the people and his campaign of bringing in a new face to the government would sound more appealing to the citizens; they would believe that a new face would bring new ideas and improve the state of the government as a whole.