Mike Shields

In Michigan’s vast Upper Peninsula, voters might feel like they are in the movie Groundhog Day when they go to the voting booth this November, as they will once again reject liberal politician Gary McDowell. In 2010, Dr. Dan Benishek defeated McDowell by nearly 12%.

The district has rarely lent support to Democrats at the national level. President Bush carried it by substantial margins, winning with 55 percent of the vote in 2004. Despite the fact that John McCain did not compete in Michigan, Obama barely managed to edge out a victory here in 2008. Since then, the new district got about a point more Republican in redistricting with the addition of several right-leaning areas around Traverse City.

Gary McDowell’s support for the failed stimulus and government takeover of healthcare will again be the main focus of the campaign. McDowell also has an abysmal voting record from his time in the Michigan state House. The state’s economy is still digging out from the massive, job-killing tax increases he voted for and that he continues to defend to this day. That might explain why he received an appalling 14% rating from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. In addition, McDowell has some strange and dangerous views regarding healthcare for seniors. In 2010, McDowell suggested that funding for end of life care and spending money on “real expensive gadgets” in the last three months of life is too expensive. Perhaps this is why he supported the government takeover of healthcare that empowers a panel of bureaucrats to make those kinds of health care decisions instead of doctors; and which cut $500 billion from Medicare, a program that many seniors in Northern Michigan depend on.

While McDowell is clearly not interested in improving seniors’ medical care, Dr. Dan Benishek has spent his career taking care of Michigan seniors and families. As a career surgeon, not a career politician, Dan’s background has brought a breath of fresh air to Congress. Dr. Benishek has fought to preserve and protect Medicare, reduce the size of the federal government to help grow the economy and create much needed jobs in the UP. Dan has also worked tirelessly to address the needs of our nation's heroes on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. This includes bringing the Committee to the Upper Peninsula to explore ways to reduce the claims backlog for Michigan Veterans to because they should not have to fight VA bureaucracy once they return home. It’s not surprising that both Governor Rick Snyder and Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) have signed on to serve as co-chairs of the freshman Member's 2012 re-election campaign.

The bad news for McDowell is Michigan families will be repeating the same decision they made two years ago by rejecting his reckless big-government agenda that would make Michigan’s economy worse.


Mike Shields

Mike Shields is the Political Director of the NRCC.