Dr. Bob Lorinser’s supporters say they haven’t seen Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula more fired-up to flip the Congressional seat. Is it doable? Who’s in Dr. Bob’s corner?
As embattled incumbent Rep. Jack Bergman (R, MI1) struggles to find his message, Lorinser is pounding the pavement in one of the Nation's largest Congressional districts. He has already visited every one of the District's 36 counties and every day gains more momentum to earn support from a vast array of constituents. Will it be enough?
NORTHERN, Mich. — Over 300 campaign events in a year. Thirty-six counties. Over 50,000 miles on the campaign trail. Nearly 450,000 likely voters. What will it take to flip Michigan's 1st District? Dr. Bob Lorinser (D, MI1) intends to find out.
"Make no mistake. To win, we need to work hard to get our message out," says Dr. Lorinser. "If we maintain momentum, hit our fundraising goals, and continue to garner grassroots support from people of all walks of life, this will be one of the most exciting races in Michigan, if not the country."
Large corporations, PACs, and dark money fund incumbent Rep. Jack Bergman's campaign, unlike Dr. Bob's individual contributors from voters in the District. Lorinser is inevitably out-funded, but not by much.
"We have momentum, and [Bergman] does not," says Dr. Bob. "I'm counting on increased voter turnout and the galvanization of voters ready for change. By myself, I won't win, but together, we will. Our grassroots campaign is successful because of the generosity of citizens who believe in democracy, honesty, and integrity."
Lorinser says he's not interested in pulling the District to the left or the right. "I intend to lead us forward," he says. "I want my grandchildren to be proud that we won by fighting for universal values and supporting what's best for all Yoopers and Northern Michiganders."
Although Democrats outnumber Republicans by 10% (45% vs 35% with 20% Independents), since 2012 Democratic candidates have been outvoted by a similar margin. Lorinser says it's time to return to Rep. Bart Stupak's 18 years of service when Democrats had a 10-point advantage. Lorinser believes he's the right candidate at the right time to recapture the difference by rallying his base, appealing to independents, and offering conservatives a better alternative to dishonesty and division.
"Bergman has doubled down on his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection," said Lorinser.. “Voters are yearning for honesty in politics, and my opponent has lost a lot of credibility and trust."
Lorinser's credentials and reputation have earned him enthusiastic support from state officials and organizing committees, attracting some of the best field operatives, firms, and political experts in the Midwest. Dr. Bob's campaign manager, Kevin Numerick, has turned around races by more significant deficits in similar districts across the country.
"Dr. Bob's opponent is spending hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars on misleading self-promotional mailers," said Numerick. "They may have an unethical windfall of money, but we have hundreds of volunteer canvassers putting in long hours, letting voters know there's a much better option on the ballot this year."
Every week, Dr. Bob's team has tens of thousands of meaningful conversations with all kinds of voters, from liberals to conservatives and everyone in between.
"We are still the underdog," admits Dr. Lorinser. "But, every hardworking 1st District resident knows that's exactly the fuel needed to surmount big obstacles. Through Northern Michigan and UP grit, my goal is to earn voters' respect and trust."
Lorinser says he's confident he'll also earn the necessary votes to make history and flip the seat "if voters have a fair opportunity to compare me with my opponent."
"I want every voter to evaluate the character, principles, qualifications, and positions of who they vote for,” says Dr. Bob. “When they do, I think we stand a good chance of winning. That is why Bergman refuses to publicly debate. It will be the honor of my life to serve Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in the US House of Representatives."
Rural Michigan doctor's bid for Congress bridges the political divide
A fascinating Congressional race is taking shape in Northern Michigan. Dr. Bob Lorinser, running on the Democratic ticket, is uniting liberals, independents, and conservative voters with his “no B.S.” approach to politics.
PRE-PRIMARY CLOSING ARGUMENT PT. II / III
"What does Dr. Bob Stand for?"
Dr. Bob Lorinser's professional background may be rooted in medicine, but his service to community and country fuels his political platform.
GWINN, Mich. — This year, growing support for Dr. Bob Lorinser's Congressional bid appears to have the embattled incumbent, Rep. Jack Bergman, nervous. Constituents of all political backgrounds — Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and voters without party affiliation — are gravitating to Dr. Bob's habitual honesty and his 'no B.S.' approach to policy.
"It's been difficult for my opponent to define me," concedes Lorinser. "I understand. Our political system is so divided that there's a tendency to categorize candidates as 'one of us' or 'one of them,' with no in-between. Too many Washington politicians are aligning with the fringes of their parties. The consequence is; Nothing meaningful gets done.
"Where has statesmanship gone? I'm running on a platform to help bring cooperation, compromise, and collaboration back to Michigan's 1st District. Refusing to compromise is not strength, and it's not representational. A leader never ignores constituents even when they disagree because when a Congressman goes at it alone, they might as well be lost."
Lorinser's positions are a refreshing smorgasbord of solutions. Dr. Bob rejects labels entirely and scoffs when asked if he considers himself a progressive, a moderate, or a conservative.
"I'm not interested in those labels," he says. "I completely reject them. Completely. We need less focus on how we define a politician and more focus on how we define problems and solutions. My allegiance belongs to the hardworking people of this district before partisan ideology. Period."
So, where does he stand on the hot-button issues?
He has numerous positions on combating inflation and gas prices. Lorinser is a proponent of economic viability, thriving small businesses, and higher caliber jobs. He supports unions because he says they benefit the employer, the worker, and the consumer, a "win, win, win," he calls it.
Lorinser criticizes his opponent for increasing the deficit and wasting taxpayer money on unfunded tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy.
Dr. Bob is an 'advocate for life' and wants to reduce abortion, but he respects medical privacy, individual liberty, and body autonomy, making him also pro-choice. He says criminalizing abortion only makes it dangerous.
"If Washington DC's goal was to reduce abortion, they wouldn't overturn Roe v. Wade," contends Lorinser. "They would support affordable and accessible medical and childcare, promote postsecondary training and education, support the American family, and address childhood poverty and economic viability with good paying jobs and benefits."
Dr. Bob supports the 2nd Amendment, calling it part of the culture and lifestyle of fiercely independent 1st District people. While at the same time, the candidate offers concrete and robust solutions to reduce gun violence, which he calls a 'public health crisis.' He sides with 80% of Democrats and Republicans who support universal background checks.
"I'm most passionate about affordable and accessible healthcare," says Dr. Lorinser. "No one should suffer when we can save taxpayer money and cover every American."
Where Bergman has failing grades — one of the worst in Congress — Lorinser hopes to advance initiatives for wildlife conservation to preserve hunting and fishing rights for his constituency and tourists. He's a strong supporter of environmental and Great Lakes protection.
Lorinser supports veterans, law enforcement, educators, the LGBT community, and minorities. He is a proponent of organized labor, criminal justice system improvements, school safety, campaign finance reform, immigration reform, DACA, refugee programs, and border security.
"My positions don't necessarily reflect any particular party platform," said Lorinser. "These positions are what works best for us in the 1st District, Michigan, and the rest of the United States.
Lorinser's platform is refreshing and exciting across the board but frustrating for his opposition. Jack Bergman has comically tried to label Dr. Bob a "bureaucrat," a "Socialist," and a "radical leftist." Yet, so far, Bergman has ignored all attempts by media outlets to participate in a debate with his challenger.
"He can call me all the names he wants," says Lorinser. "The labels I accept - I'm a grandfather, a father, a husband, a friend, and a Yooper who is so concerned about the direction of our Nation that I'll work tirelessly every day to improve it."
Congressional candidate in rural Michigan galvanizing both liberals and conservatives
Dr. Bob Lorinser, candidate for US Congress running under the Democratic ticket in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, is earning support from across the political spectrum. Why? He believes in unifying policy that transcends party politics.
PRE-PRIMARY CLOSING ARGUMENT PT. I / III
"Who is Dr. Bob?"
Lorinser, poised to defeat embattled incumbent Republican Jack Bergman in Michigan's 1st Congressional District, is running an issue-driven campaign, stimulating interest from a distinct rural constituency.
GWINN, Mich. — In today's divisive political climate, where outlandish quips from extremists dominate airwaves, it's rare to find a candidate making waves by their willingness to engage with 'the other side.' Dr. Bob Lorinser (D, MI1) is more than willing; he regularly seeks opportunities to find common ground.
Many consider Lorinser one of the most respected physicians in Michigan. He received the distinction of 'Michigan Family Medicine Educator of the Year' in 2003. Lorinser's résumé is racked with leadership credentials, including five tours overseas as a State Department diplomat. But, the locals endearingly just call their health department medical director 'Doc' or 'Dr. Bob.'
"I don't give a damn what ticket Doc's running under," said small business owner Brian Harsch of Jean Kay's Pasties. "I usually vote conservative, but the last few years have been leaning independent. Doc over Bergman? No question, I'm voting for Dr. Bob because I trust him."
Former Representative Bart Stupak, a Democrat, served the district for 18 years until 2011. Since then, Lorinser says, 'Yoopers' and Northern Michiganders haven't changed much.
"There are voters in my district who believe mainstream, establishment politicians are no longer representative of their values," said Dr. Lorinser. "Which means it's my party's duty to reignite our understanding of rural America."
Dr. Bob is earning voters' trust. He says he rarely receives criticism about his positions on issues. Currently, constituents' primary concerns are inflation, gas and food prices, and the rising cost of rent.
"Many believe the Democratic Party is responsible," says Dr. Bob. "But, both parties have their faults, and hardworking rural families often face the brunt of these economic burdens. My goal is to listen and put forward real solutions that will solve these problems, not convince voters the problems don't exist."
Alternatively, Lorinser's opponent, incumbent Rep. Jack Bergman (R, MI1), is solely focused on blaming Democrats. "Record grocery and gas prices," said Bergman. "Highest illegal border crossings in history. Skyrocketing inflation. The Democrat-led Congress and President are derelict in their duty to the American people."
"My opponent wants to play the blame game, but he offers no meaningful solutions," Lorinser claims. "It's unacceptable. Combating inflation and advocating for economic growth requires leadership and compromise from both sides. The American people deserve better than for us to make this a partisan problem."
Skeptics often ask Dr. Bob how frequently he'll vote in lockstep with his party or how he'll practice independence when elected. Will he be another stooge to Speaker Pelosi, President Biden, Gov. Whitmer, or Sen. Schumer?
"I never thought my vote was for or against a party. My vote will be my best assessment for America, my district, and its people," says Lorinser.
Dr. Bob may be a rookie candidate, but he's not a novice to politics, leadership, or solving problems.
"Being a political outsider is actually a huge advantage," says Lorinser.
"It's refreshing," said Harsch.
"Part III - Can Dr. Bob pull it off?" publishes Tues. July 26.