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1st Congressional District

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

America has a new president-elect this morning, but the jury is still out when it comes to which candidate will carry Michigan.

On this Week in Michigan Politics Doug Tribou and Jack Lessenberry talk about how Donald Trump could become the first Republican to carry the state since 1988. They also discuss Republican victories in the 1st and 7th Congressional Districts, and the Republican's sustained control of  the state House and Supreme Court.


Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Election Day is less than a week away, and one of the most competitive races in the nation is right here in Michigan.

For our segment This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about Democrat Gretchen Driskell's bid to win the state's 7th Congressional District over incumbent Republican Tim Walberg.

They also talk about the race in the 1st Congressional District that could be important on a national level and whether third-party candidates stand a chance in Michigan.


Jack Bergman
Screen grab of "Your Choice - Lt. General Jack Bergman (Ret.) for Congress" / Jack Bergman

The most hotly contested congressional race in Michigan is widely viewed as happening in the First Congressional District. It covers the entire Upper Peninsula and a good-sized chunk of the northern Lower Peninsula.

Earlier this month on Stateside, Zoe Clark spoke with the Democratic contender, Lon Johnson. Today, we spoke with Republican candidate, retired Marine Lt. General Jack Bergman.

Let’s say you were a candidate for the Michigan Legislature, and you got to run against a guy who has been convicted of eight felonies and is now being charged with three more.

Your opponent, the incumbent, has also been evicted from his home in the past for non-payment of rent.

Additionally, the state has had to pay more than $85,000 in legal fees to attempt to defend your opponent from a sexual harassment charge from a man who worked for him.

You might think the challenger would win by a landslide.

But in fact, William Broman is a huge underdog.

WWW.MICHIGANDEMS.COM/LON

Taking up more than 25,000 square miles, Michigan's 1st Congressional District is the biggest in the state. It makes up the entire Upper Peninsula and much of the upper part of the Lower Peninsula. It represents almost half of the state's total land area, but only represents roughly 700,000 people. 

The congressional race in Michigan's 1st has become a tight one as former Democratic Chairperson Lon Johnson is running against retired three-star U.S. Marine general Jack Bergman. Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry called it Michigan's hottest Congressional race.

Johnson brings a wealth of connections from his days as the party's chair, but will face an uphill climb in a district that historically leans Republican. 

Map of Michigan's 1st congressional district.
Map USDOI shape file by user 7partparadigm / Wikimedia Commons

Most Michigan congressional districts are drawn to favor one party over another.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas​ joined us again today to talk about this week in politics. 

Primary voter turnout

Only 19% of all voters in Michigan showed up to vote in this past Tuesday's primary election, following a 34% turnout for the presidential primary earlier this year.

Demas described the low level of voter participation as “sadly predictable.”

Jack Bergman
Screen grab of "Your Choice - Lt. General Jack Bergman (Ret.) for Congress" / Jack Bergman


One of Michigan's marquee races is the one to replace retiring Republican Rep. Dan Benishek in the 1st Congressional District.

 

The district covers the entire Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula.

State Sen. Tom Casperson and former State Sen. Jason Allen were hoping to make the November ballot.

So was a retired three-star Marine Lieutenant General named Jack Bergman.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at Michigan primary results, including Congressman John Conyers' closest challenge in years, an upset in the state's 1st congressional district and what drives voters to support or reject millages. Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss yesterday's turnout and whether an August primary is the best strategy to boost voter participation in non-presidential primaries.


Tom Casperson

State Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, announced early Monday that he will run for the 1st U.S. House District, which represents northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

He is the first Republican to officially announce to succeed Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, who is retiring. Casperson has served almost 11 years in the Michigan Legislature.

Republicans may be trying to break up with Dave Agema, but Dave Agema is sending plenty of signals that he’s not about to break up with Republicans.

Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek, R-MI-1st, will retire.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Congressman Dan Benishek (R-MI 1st) surprised political observers today by announcing he will not seek a fourth term in office. Earlier this year Benishek said he would break a commitment to only serve three terms and seek a fourth. Now he’s returned to his three-term commitment and will retire in 2016.

user Bjoertvedt / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Can Democrats flip three Michigan districts in the 2016 election?

Nancy Kaffer tackled that question in her recent column for the Detroit Free Press.

In her column, Kaffer looked at the 1st, 7th, and 8th Congressional districts in Michigan. Voters in each of those districts elected Republicans in the last election, “by pretty narrow margins.”

6/25/2015 Update:

Lon Johnson will make his candidacy for Michigan's 1st Congressional District official this afternoon in the Upper Peninsula. A press release sent to reporters this morning states:

Democrat Lon Johnson will announce his candidacy for Congress in Michigan’s First Congressional District, challenging Republican incumbent Dan Benishek. Johnson will make the announcement at the Marquette County Democrats’ annual Summer Sizzle Picnic in Ishpeming, MI. 

Lon Johnson grew up in a family with five generations of Northern Michigan history and has worked in American manufacturing and as a civilian in Iraq. Lon, 44, lives in Kalkaska County and is married to Julianna Smoot. Lon is currently the Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.

WWW.MICHIGANDEMS.COM/LON

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics co-hosts Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark break down the news that Lon Johnson, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, is considering a run in Michigan's 1st Congressional District in 2016. 

The uppermost part of the state holds the state's 1st Congressional District.
govtrack.us

< If you live up here --

--- Rep. Dan Benishek (R) is the guy who speaks for you in Washington D.C. (along with your two Senators, of course).

The Associated Press reports today that a retired sheriff and former military officer is planning to challenge Benishek in 2014.

Democrat Jerry Cannon on Tuesday announced his campaign for the 1st District seat held by second-term Republican Rep. Dan Benishek.

Cannon says he's frustrated with Washington and says Benishek isn't creating jobs or working for the middle class. A message was left with Benishek, a surgeon from Crystal Falls who won an open seat in 2010 and defended it in a rematch last year.

Cannon is a Vietnam veteran who later joined the Michigan Army National Guard, serving from 1977 to 2012. He also was sheriff in Kalkaska County.

Cannon lives in Fife Lake with his wife. They have four children.

Fritz Klug reports for MLive that Cannon will begin campaigning today:

Cannon is expected to make campaign stops in Marquette and Traverse City today. The announcement comes a day after Democrats launched radio ads attacking Benishek.

In his last election, Benishek narrowly beat his challenger in 2012.

Gary McDowell

It was a close race, but the votes have been counted and Democrat Gary McDowell conceded the 1st Congressional district race to incumbent Republican Congressman Dan Benishek.

McDowell conceded the election last night.

By last count, Benishek and McDowell were separated by less than 1 percent of the vote.