Not even five months after winning a third term, the Michigan republican has made plans to run for a fourth.
“I’m happy to serve the people of northern Michigan if they’ll have me," Benishek told IPR News on Tuesday. "And I’ve decided that I’m going to try to stay a little longer.”
Benishek had made a pledge in 2010 in favor of term limits – saying he supported "a three-term limit on members of Congress."
State and national Democrats are attacking the Upper Peninsula republican for deciding to run for a fourth term.
“I think he’s really harmed his credibility with voters in the district by breaking his pledge to only serve three terms," Matt Thornton says. He is communications director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"And I think that that makes this seat certainly one that we’ll be keeping a close eye on.”
Benishek has released the following statement to IPR News:
"Serving Northern Michigan has been – and continues to be – a privilege, and it is my sincere hope that the voters of the 1st district will allow me to continue representing them and their families. I recognize this conflicts with past statements I made when first running for office. After serving our veterans for 20-years as a doctor in our local VA hospitals, and now as the only Michigan member on the House Veterans Committee, I know that there is more work that must be done to ensure veterans are getting the benefits they have earned. But the fight to hold bureaucrats in Washington accountable won’t happen over night – it was a problem a long time in the making and will take a long time to undo. I believe I bring a unique perspective to overcoming those challenges as well as others facing families throughout the 1st District, and my hope is voters will agree."
Benishek, who defeated former Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon in November, represents Michigan's First Congressional District.
A former doctor at the Iron Mountain Veterans Affairs Center, Benishek has a leadership position within the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
“It’s important work," Benishek says. "I think that’s a good place for me to be.”