Running for First

The race for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress is expected to be one of the most fiercely competitive in the nation in 2016.

Check in with Running for First for groundbreaking reporting on candidates, issues and campaign finance questions.

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.

Dana Ferguson and Dwight Brady

Two more Democrats have jumped into the race for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Both are from the Upper Peninsula.

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.

Courtesy of Matt Morgan

Another retired Marine Corps officer is considering a run for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. This time it’s a Democrat. 

Matt Morgan of Traverse City says he has filed paperwork to challenge Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) next year. 

Ben Thorp

Republican Jack Bergman, who won Michigan’s 1st Congressional District by taking 55 percent of the vote yesterday, says his number one legislative priority is revving up the economy. 

He spoke with IPR News Radio’s David Cassleman on Wednesday morning. Listen to the conversation below.

 


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.

Republican Jack Bergman has won in the sprawling 1st Congressional District. Bergman collected 55 percent of the vote. Bergman is a retired Marine Corps general who lives in the Upper Peninsula town of Watersmeet.

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:

Got questions before heading to the polls November 8? IPR News Radio hosted hour-long discussions with the candidates for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. The race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation this year. Listen to the call-in shows below.

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. 

Ellis Boal

Congressional candidate Ellis Boal has lived a life of political activism. The labor attorney was arrested while protesting at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. At the time he was a cab driver living in Chicago. 

“I spent the night in jail,” Boal says, “and heard the acceptance speech of Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, from jail.”

 

Boal once posed for a photo with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He even played in a band that was the warm up act for Bernie Sanders 30 years ago. 

Boal, who has lived in Charlevoix since 2000, has also been a mainstay on ballots in northern Michigan. He is running as the Green Party candidate for the 1st Congressional District for the fourth time in a row.

Lon Johnson for Congress

Northern Michigan Democrats have picked Lon Johnson to run for U.S. Congress. Johnson, the former chair of the state Democratic Party, took 72 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary election against former Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon.

“In my candidacy, you will see a future member of Congress willing to make investments to get things done,” Johnson told IPR News Radio in an interview on Wednesday morning.
 


Peter Payette

Republicans in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District have nominated a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general to run for U.S. Congress.

Jack Bergman was unknown in northern Michigan political circles until about six months ago. Yesterday, he prevailed in a three-way race against two well-known members of the Republican Party: state Senator Tom Casperson from Escanaba and former state lawmaker Jason Allen from Traverse City.

Bergman, who lives in the Upper Peninsula town of Watersmeet, took more than 33,000 votes out of about 86,000.

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.
 


In case you missed it, Republicans Jason Allen, Jack Bergman and Tom Casperson debated the issues on IPR News Radio on Friday, June 17.

The three are candidates for Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

Listen below to a recording of the entire call-in show, and click this link for a forum with the Democratic candidates recorded earlier this month.


Want to know where northern Michigan Republicans stand on Donald Trump? On Line Five? On the economy?

Now is your chance to question the Republicans running for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Leave your question in the comments below, and we just might ask it on air on Friday, June 17 at 1 p.m.

You can also call in during the hour with your question for Jason Allen, Jack Bergman and Tom Casperson. The number is 231-276-4432.

Diane Bostow

Michigan Libertarians have picked a former schoolteacher to run for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan.

“This is a district that is frugal, hard-working people and they kind of like to be left alone,” says Diane Bostow, who is a former teacher and entrepreneur from the Upper Peninsula town of Gwinn.  

Michigan Libertarians selected Bostow at the state party’s convention last month.
 


In case you missed it, Democrats Lon Johnson and Jerry Cannon debated the issues on IPR News Radio on Friday, June 10. Johnson and Cannon are both candidates for Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

Listen below to a recording of the entire call-in show, and be sure to join us next Friday -- June 17 -- when the Republicans convene for a live call-in show at 1pm.


Worried about Line 5 at the Straits? Wondering about the northern Michigan economy?

Now is your chance to question the Democrats running for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Leave your question in the comments below, and we just might ask it on air on Friday, June 10 at 1 p.m.

It’s a live forum and call-in show with the Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress in the 1st Congressional District — Jerry Cannon and Lon Johnson.

Call in during the forum at 800-681-5929.

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.”

Pages