Fmr. Rep. Bart Stupak believes the right Democrat can win in rural Northern Michigan / UP
“I will work to bridge the gap between our divided nation and district. I want voters to look beyond labels — Democrats, Republicans — and compare each candidate's character, qualifications, temperament, and positions.”
DELTA COUNTY, Mich. – Former Congressman Bart Stupak (MI1, D) says the 1st Congressional was always a red district that he won by talking face-to-face with voters, with real, in-person voter engagement.
It's a political philosophy and campaign strategy Dr. Bob Lorinser adopted for his 2022 run against Republican Jack Bergman.
"For too long, this kind of politics felt extinct to voters in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula," said Dr. Lorinser. "Even though the constant travel eventually kept [Bart] from seeking re-election, I always intended to have a close dialogue with constituents." Like Stupak, Lorinser has visited every one of its 36 counties, with over 150 events since August of 2021.
Bart Stupak says too many lawmakers avoid the heat, and constituents constantly battle misinformation. Lorinser is facing the heat dead-on, welcoming all constituents "regardless of party affiliation" to his campaign events and doing considerable outreach to independents, Republicans, and disaffected former Democrats.
"It's a difficult time," said Stupak to WDET, Detroit's NPR station. "We're bitterly divided as a nation. But that's when I think you need your elected officials out there more, trying to bridge those gaps."
Lorinser's campaign is bridging the gap.
Stupak says a Democrat could win the 1st Congressional again. But he adds that it would require the right candidate and the party to care about rural Michigan.
Lorinser says Congressman Jack Bergman has taken the district for granted. Regardless of his desire for re-election, Bergman "no longer represents the distinct values, culture, and way-of-life of Yoopers and Northern Michiganders."
"I am having these face-to-face conversations," said Lorinser. "We're walking down the long rural dirt roads to talk to voters as we continue an unprecedented traveling campaign schedule. Dialogue with voters is crucial, and I will work to bridge the gap between our divided nation and district. I want voters to look beyond labels — Democrats, Republicans — and compare each candidate's character, qualifications, temperament, and positions."
Like Stupak, Dr. Bob is confident he's the right candidate at the right time to reignite the legacy of service and statesmanship.