A crowded 1st Congressional race is quickly becoming a stampede.Both state Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, and state Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, are expected to make their formal announcements to run for the 1st Congressional district seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee.
On Tuesday, McDowell said he made the decision to run for congress after being encouraged about the decision by his family.
"I spoke to my family and many people in the district and I've come to the conclusion that I'd be the best candidate to run for the district and represent the state," McDowell said.
McDowell, who is term-limited in the 107th House seat, previously planned to run for the 37th Senate seat held by Allen. However, with the surprise announcement that Stupak would end his 18-year tenure in the 1st District, many well-known state politicians have eyed the possibility of heading to Washington, D.C.
Gary McDowell isn't bulletproof as he voted for Granholm's tax policies, but he's still the one candidate so far that actually scares me from a geographic and ideology standpoint. He's a yooper which is a big advantage. He also showed he can win in the more Republican areas of the UP, Chippewa and Mackinac Counties. He even won Emmet County twice, normally a GOP stronghold. He beat a state senator in Walt North (with major help from the NRA) to win this seat in 2004 after Scott Shackleton was termed out. He, like Sheltrown, can really cut into the 2nd Amendment vote in this district.
So far we have running:
Jason Allen - Not formally announced, but an agent speaking for him said he was running last week. Represents part of the district as a state senator.
Dan Benishek - Surgeon who raised some online money after the health care bill. Yooper.
Don Hooper - Frequent candidate against Stupak. Yooper
Linda Goldthorpe - Ran in 2008 primary, Yooper
Tom Stillings - Active in tea parties, from Torch Lake
Connie Saltonstall - From Charlevoix, favorite of the "progressive" crowd
Joel Sheltrown - From West Branch. Chair of Natural Resources Committee as state rep. Strong in Northeastern Lower Penninsula.
Will there be a fourth Democrat, especially another yooper. Right now, I hope there is. Who else is running. I'll keep saying this regarding the chances of both parties in the 1st District. It is about matchups. Who matches up best against each other. Once the filings are in, I'll take a close look at them and the strengths and weakness of all of them.