1st Congressional

A ballot initiative aims to change the way Michigan draws the boundaries of legislative districts following the census. 

Redistricting can have a big impact on the state’s politics by affecting the demographics of districts. Right now, state lawmakers are in charge of drawing the maps for state and congressional districts.

Matt Mikus

Northern Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman took questions in Petoskey over the weekend. Bergman spoke at North Central Michigan College on Saturday.

He was asked about natural resources, immigration and health care reform.

Bergman said he wants to find solutions to improve health care but the problem is challenging, especially in rural areas.

Aaron Selbig

Northern Michigan University professor Dwight Brady first came close to running for Congress in 2010. But the Upper Peninsula Democrat says he stepped aside when former state Rep. Gary McDowell entered the race.

Now, four elections later, Brady has decided to challenge Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) in Michigan’s 1st District.

David Cassleman

Northern Michigan’s congressman faced a raucous crowd at a town hall meeting in Gaylord Thursday night.

There was lots of booing and some cheering for Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) at the event. Constituents asked him about Russian meddling in the election, health care, and the Great Lakes, among other issues.

 


Aaron Selbig

A retired Marine Corps officer has formally announced he is running as a Democrat for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. Matt Morgan of Traverse City, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2013, served two tours during the Iraq War.

Northern Michigan’s congressman says he will hold town hall events in the district next month.

Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) talked about his plans during a town hall held over the telephone Thursday night.

 He said locations will probably be announced in the next ten days or so.

Northern Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) says he supports the GOP health care bill in its current form. The legislation could come up for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House as soon as this week. 

Northern Michigan’s Congressman says he’s just now getting a chance to look at the details of a new Republican health care plan. But Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) sounded upbeat talking about it during a telephone town hall he hosted on Tuesday night. 

It was hours after fellow House Republicans unveiled their plans for replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“The American Health Care Act … is going to ensure that number one everybody is able to get health care,” Bergman said.

Matt Mikus

Protesters gathered in Petoskey Thursday as Congressman Jack Bergman arrived for a speech.

Peter Payette

Northern Michigan has a freshman lawmaker in U.S. Congress. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) was sworn into office last week as congressman for Michigan’s sprawling 1st District. 

The retired Marine Corps general has not yet been assigned to a committee, but he was selected to serve as president for the freshman class of Republican lawmakers. 

Bergman spoke with IPR News Radio about his first days on the job: 

 


Interlochen Public Radio

Voter turnout in northern Michigan on Tuesday was the highest it has been in at least two decades and Republican voters dominated the election up north. Donald Trump won every county but Marquette and Republican Jack Bergman won a resounding victory in the race for U.S. Congress.

Bergman won Michigan’s 1st Congressional seat by more than 55,000 votes over his Democratic opponent Lon Johnson. In 2012, this race—between different major party candidates—was decided by less than 2,000 votes.

Sam Cordon

For presidential race results go to NPR's election page for detailed information.

For more state election information visit Michigan's Secretary of State website.

U.S. 1st Congressional District:

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.

Washington political groups are targeting northern Michigan airwaves this election season, spending millions of dollars in the race for the 1st Congressional District. Independent political groups representing Democrats and Republicans have spent $1.4 million on TV advertisements alone, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports.

“These are groups that do not locate their headquarters anywhere close to northern Michigan,” says Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Independent groups have spent around $2.1 million total on the campaign, Mauger says. 

Michigan’s 1st District, which spans the northern third of the Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula, is expected to be one of the more competitive races in the nation this November 8. 

 

 


For more than an hour, the four candidates talked about issues like affordable healthcare, social security, Line 5, U.S. involvement in Syria and care for military veterans.

Republican Jack Bergman, Democrat Lon Johnson, Green Party candidate Ellis Boal and Libertarian Diane Bostow were all present.

The forum was moderated by IPR's David Cassleman and Jack Segal of the International Affairs Forum. The League of Women Voters Grand Traverse Area and Leelanau County and UpNorth Media Center also co-sponsored the event. 

David Cassleman

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin spent time on this side of Lake Michigan on Monday morning, campaigning for Republican congressional candidate Jack Bergman.

Ryan spoke briefly at the headquarters of the Grand Traverse County Republican Party in Traverse City. He endorsed Bergman in the 1st District race and touted the Republican agenda in the U.S. House before a crowd of party members and elected officials, including state Rep. Larry Inman and state Sen. Wayne Schmidt. 


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.

Candidates for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress have raised more than $2.3 million so far in a race that is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation this November.

Campaigns across the nation filed financial statements with the Federal Election Commission last week.

Former Michigan Democratic Party chair Lon Johnson leads all candidates in the 1st Congressional District with more than $1.2 million raised through June 30. Fellow Democrat Jerry Cannon has raised $46,169.

Republican Jack Bergman, a retired Marine Corps general from Watersmeet, has more cash on hand than any other Republican. He has raised $336,275 total and spent more than $94,000.

Most of that money comes from Bergman’s own pocketbook, says Craig Mauger with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
 


Congressional candidates in northern Michigan have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars so far in 2016. Candidates in the 1st Congressional District have combined to raise $561,218 since January 1, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

“When it comes to purely candidate fundraising, the 1st District led the way in the … first three months of 2016,” says Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Mauger says there were other congressional districts with higher fundraising totals, but those totals were skewed by candidates loaning themselves large sums of money.

Mauger discussed the political fundraising battle in northern Michigan with IPR News Radio earlier this week:
 


Jack Bergman, a former three-star Marine Corps general running for Congress in northern Michigan, wants to “get the budget under control” on day one if elected.

The Republican recently entered the race in Michigan’s competitive 1st Congressional District. The district includes the northern third of lower Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula.

“Congress needs to start working together, negotiating the tough decisions,” Bergman told IPR News Radio in an interview last week.


There’s a new Republican in the race for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress — a former three-star general named Jack Bergman. The retired Marine Corps officer says he will soon officially register to run in the competitive 1st Congressional District.

“Marines don’t come to just kind of finish second,” Bergman says. “Marines come to win.”

Bergman is a political unknown, but he’s running in a district - and in an election year - when an outsider could have success.


Jack Bergman, a retired Marine Corps general from the western Upper Peninsula, is entering the race for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. The republican says he plans to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission sometime in the next two weeks.

“Marines don’t come to just kind of finish second,” Bergman says. “Marines come to win.”

A yooper has represented northern Michigan in U.S. Congress for decades — a tradition that state Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) wants to continue. Casperson is running to fill the seat that Rep. Dan Benishek is vacating in the 1st Congressional District. Casperson sat down with IPR News Radio for an interview last week.

“The overreach from the federal government has caused problems we’re faced with here in northern Michigan,” Casperson says. “I’m one that’s convinced that most of the governing should take place at the state level.”


Former Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon has some ground to make up on the campaign trail in northern Michigan’s hotly contested First Congressional District. In December, Cannon spent more than three weeks recuperating in a Traverse City hospital, after his car slid off an icy road near his home in Fife Lake.

Cannon is only now getting back to his campaign.

This is the second time the Democrat has run in the First Congressional District. Cannon lost in 2014 to incumbent Rep. Dan Benishek.

“We’re trying to build on the success that we achieved in 2014,” Cannon says.

He says the political winds are blowing in his favor this election cycle.

“There’s a lot of disenchantment with the establishment and people who are career politicians,” Cannon, a Democrat, told IPR News Radio in an interview. “And that’s not me. I’m a career public servant. I’m not an insider. I’m not connected. I’m not big money.”


Lon Johnson for Congress

Congressional candidate Lon Johnson is calling for the oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac to be shut down while an independent investigation is conducted.

“If we were to have an accident there, the cost would be immeasurable to our ecology, to our economy, to our health,” Johnson told IPR News Radio in an interview last week.

Enbridge’s Line 5 runs across the Straits, and has drawn criticism from environmental groups who worry about the age of the 63-year old pipe. Enbridge says the crossing is safe.

Lon Johnson, the former chairperson of the Michigan Democratic Party, is running for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. He led Michigan Democrats for two years, from 2013-2015, before announcing he was jumping into the race for the First Congressional District.

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