MI-06 Poll–Matt Longjohn Well-Positioned to Defeat 32-year Career Politician Fred Upton

MI-06 Poll–Matt Longjohn Well-Positioned to Defeat 32-year Career Politician Fred Upton

A new poll of likely voters in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District shows that Democrat and first-time candidate Dr. Matt Longjohn starts the general election campaign just 5 points behind 32-year incumbent Fred Upton,despite being largely unknown. More important, when voters hear balanced profiles of both candidates, with Upton’s profile based on language from his own website, Longjohn vaults into a commanding 11-point lead. This poll shows that while the electorate here remains conservative and still leans slightly toward the Republicans, the environment is much more favorable to Democrats than might be expected. Barack Obama is much more popular than Donald Trump, and the Republican health care bill –which Upton authored –is extremely unpopular. Moreover, as evidenced by the impressive movement outlined above, voters are hungry for an independent political outsider, like Longjohn. This poll clearly shows that Matt Longjohn has an extremely strong chance to flip this seat for Democrats –if he has the resources to get his message out to voters, which is much easier in this relatively inexpensive district than in many more-expensive suburban seats around the country.

KEY SURVEY FINDINGS:

  • The environment is friendlier for a Democrat than it has been in years; Upton’s GOP Healthcare bill is very unpopular. While the likely electorate in the district is still quite conservative (46% conservative vs. just 28% liberal), Republicans have only a modest 3-point lead on the generic ballot (43% to 46%). Moreover, while Donald Trump won this district by 8 points, he is now 9 points underwater on personal favorability (43% favorable vs. 52% unfavorable). Former president Barack Obama is much more popular (55%/43%). More troubling for Upton, the “health care bill that Republicans in Congress tried to pass last year,” which was authored by the incumbent, is extremely unpopular (31% favorable vs. 49% unfavorable).
  • Upton’s standing is mediocre, leads by only 5 despite huge name ID advantage. For such a long-term incumbent, Upton’s standing is only mediocre at 42% favorable to 40% unfavorable. But his 82% name ID is much higher than Longjohn’s 30% name ID (22%/8%). This 50-point name ID advantage does boost Upton to a 5-point lead (44%-49%) in a two-way ballot (when Stephen Young is included, Upton leads 41%-47%-3%).
  • Longjohn’s strong profile boosts him to an 11-point lead in the informed ballot. After voters hear balanced profiles of both candidates, with Upton’s based on language from his own website, Longjohn moves from 5 points down to 11 points ahead (53% to 42%),a remarkable shift of 16 points in the net vote margin. This is due in large part to independents who start the race dead even (43% Longjohn to 42%Upton) but move decisively to Longjohn after hearing both profiles (59% to 30% in the informed ballot).

ABOUT THIS POLL: Global Strategy Group conducted a live telephone survey of 500 likely midterm voters in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District from August 24th to 29th, 2018. The margin of error for the overall electorate at the 95% confidence level is +/-4.4%. Care has been taken to ensure the geographic and demographic divisions of the expected electorate are properly represented based on historical turnout.

Matt Longjohn endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren

Matt Longjohn endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren

Longjohn receives major national endorsement from Senator Elizabeth Warren

Portage- Today, Democratic nominee for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, Dr. Matt Longjohn,  announced that Senator Elizabeth Warren has endorsed his campaign for Congress.

“Dr. Matt Longjohn will bring a valuable and much-needed voice to Congress. As a physician, Matt has a proven record of putting people first — not Wall Street, billionaires, or CEOs who already have too much influence in Washington. Matt will never stop fighting until families in Michigan have access to affordable healthcare and prescription drugs. I’m thrilled to endorse him”, said Senator Warren.

Longjohn also commented on the endorsement.

“I am thrilled to be endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren has been a champion for the middle-class in the Senate, protecting consumers and putting forth people-first policies while taking on the big corporations and billionaires who have too much influence in Washington. When I am elected to Congress I will be equally committed to advancing these people-first policies to improve the health and quality of lives of as many people possible.” said Longjohn.

 

Clean Water Action Endorses Matt Longjohn for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District

Clean Water Action Endorses Matt Longjohn for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District

LANSING– Today, Clean Water Action announced its endorsement of Matt Longjohn for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District.

“Throughout his career as a doctor and advocate, Matt Longjohn has shown the depth of his commitment to protecting our environment and public health. His record as a public health advocate is substantial, and we are confident that he will continue the fight in Congress,” said Mary Brady-Enerson, Clean Water Action Michigan Director. “Michigan needs congressional representatives like Matt Longjohn. Our water is in a state of crisis, and we must have representatives who are willing and able to stand up to the dirty water agenda of the Trump administration,” concluded Brady-Enerson.

Longjohn is running against incumbent representative and noted climate change denier Fred Upton, who voted to remove stream and wetland protections, to fast track approval for oil and gas pipelines, and to make it easier for fossil fuel corporations to influence EPA’s scientific review process during his current term. Longjohn has been an outspoken public health advocate throughout his career, serving as National Health Officer for YMCA since 2001.

“Michigan residents understand how valuable our fresh water is. It is time for the residents of the 6th district to have a representative who understands that as well. Matt Longjohn will fight for our water resources, oppose further cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and work to prevent the Trump administration from undoing all the progress we’ve made on Great Lakes protections,” said Brady-Enerson. “We are proud to endorse Matt’s campaign for the 6th congressional district, and look forward to working with him as a legislator. The choice is clear – Matt Longjohn for Congress.”

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Clean Water Action is Michigan’s largest grassroots conservation group with over 250,000 members across the state. Through direct advocacy and education they organize Michigan residents to protect the Great Lakes and our water resources. Learn more at www.cleanwateraction.org/mi

Matt Longjohn endorsed by End Citizens United

Matt Longjohn endorsed by End Citizens United

Longjohn receives an endorsement from leading campaign finance reform group

Portage- Today, Democratic nominee for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, Dr. Matt Longjohn,  announced that End Citizen’s United has endorsed his campaign for Congress.

“Michiganders are fed up with a rigged system in Washington where politicians are controlled by mega-donors and special interests, while everyday Americans are shut out of the conversation,” said ECU President Tiffany Muller. “Matt Lonjohn is fighting to upend this system so Congress focuses on the people they are supposed to represent, not a handful of big political donors. And he’s already leading by example by turning away corporate PAC money in his campaign. He’s demonstrating to voters that he’ll put their interests first, and we’re proud to back his campaign.”

Longjohn also commented on the endorsement.

“I am excited to be endorsed by End Citizen’s United.  They are the leading group working to stop the influence of dark money in politics.  Campaign finance reform is a major issue in the 6th district. Congressman Fred Upton has continually supported the interests of his corporate donors over those of his constituents.  Congressmen Upton sees taking corporate PAC money merely as a campaign tactic and fails to see it as a legitimate issues voters want to see addressed. When I get to Congress I am going to be a strong voice to End Citizens United and put together real campaign finance reform that takes corporate money out of politics. ” said Longjohn.

Matt Longjohn endorsed by UAW

Matt Longjohn endorsed by UAW

Longjohn receives first labor endorsement

Portage- Today, Democratic nominee for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, Dr. Matt Longjohn,  announced that his campaign for Congress has been endorsed by the UAW.

“We at the UAW Southwest MI Cap are proud to endorse Matt Longjohn for US Congress. We feel his experiences and great talking manner will make him the most prominent opponent Fred Upton has ever faced. We feel this midterm could be the change election for this district. The doctor is in, Doctor Matt Longjohn!”, said Curt Herman Southwest UAW-Cap Director  

“I am excited to be endorsed by the UAW. They are the largest union in Michigan and their support of my candidacy means so much.  I am running to finally give the hardworking families of Southwest Michiganders the representation they need in Congress. For too long, the middle class has been shrinking while the billionaires and corporations have been getting unfair tax breaks.  When I am elected, I will fight to make affordable health care a reality, make sure that all Americans are earning a living wage, and fight to get the dark corporate money out of politics. ” said Longjohn.

Press Release on Matt Longjohn challenging Fred Upton to debates

Press Release on Matt Longjohn challenging Fred Upton to debates

Matt Longjohn accepts Congressman Fred Upton’s offer of debates in the General Election
Longjohn challenges Upton to 6 debates.

Portage- Today, Democratic nominee for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, Dr. Matt Longjohn, accepted Congressman Fred Upton’s offer of having debates in the lead up to the General Election in November.

“Everywhere I go in Southwestern Michigan, I hear from Michiganders who are frustrated and disappointed that Congressman Upton has not held a public town hall in the last eight years or had a debate with an opponent since 2012.  I was pleased to see that Congressman Upton’s statement last week in which he said he was willing to participate in debates this election cycle. I agree that the voters deserve a healthy debate of ideas in this campaign, that’s why I am proposing that we hold six debates between now and November 6th.  This would allow for one debate in each county of the 6th District, and give voters all over the District an opportunity to hear from each of us. There are sharp contrasts between Congressman Upton and myself on health care, campaign finance, the economy and other important policy areas. These debates will help voters hear about our differences in policy, and to decide who they want as their representative.” said Longjohn.

 

Matt Longjohn wins Michigan 6th District primary in 4-way race

Matt Longjohn wins Michigan 6th District primary in 4-way race

KALAMAZOO, MI — Matt Longjohn is the Democratic Party’s choice to face U.S. Rep. Fred Upton for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District in November.

Longjohn earned 22,077 votes, followed by George Franklin, 17,222, David Benac, 12,681, and Rich Eichholz, 7,596, according to unofficial results.

The mood was celebratory at his campaign watch party in Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo, but Longjohn acknowledged that the campaign is just getting started — he plans to go “toe-to-toe” with Upton until election day on Nov. 6.

“This is just the end of the beginning,” he said. “We have so much more work to do.”

Longjohn will likely have his work cut out for him in the November general election. Upton, 65, is something of an institution in Southwest Michigan; he’s represented Southwest Michigan’s Congressional District since 1986 and is seeking a 17th term in the House of Representatives.

Upton sailed to reelection in 2016 by earning 58.6 percent of the vote, his strongest victory since 2010. In his entire career as a Congressman, Upton on average won with 63.5 percent of the vote.

“Mr. Upton is a formidable foe,” Longjohn said Tuesday. “It will take a lot of hard work, a lot of support, and it’s going to take some luck, but I look forward to the campaign ahead.”

The Republican acknowledged the attention on his district in an election night statement. Upton said he is looking forward to public forums and debates to come.

“We must continue all working together to make Southwest Michigan a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” Upton said in the statement. “We look forward to a tough, clean campaign contrasting our visions for the future.”

The 6th District covers the counties of Kalamazoo, Van Buren, Cass, St. Joseph, Berrien, and most of Allegan County.

Longjohn, 46, is a former national health officer for the YMCA who gave up his job to run for Congress. Longjon he entered the race to provide a strong contrast to Upton and used his expertise as a public health official to show he was most qualified to improve health care.

“Too many people are working too hard and not being able to meet ends meet,” he said. “This is about putting people first.”

Two hours after polls closed on Aug. 7, things were looking good for Longjohn. He won Kalamazoo, Van Buren and St. Joseph counties by 10 p.m. Half an hour later, Longjohn congratulated his opponents but wasn’t ready to declare victory just yet.

The Franklin campaign wasn’t ready to give up either. A spokesperson said the campaign expected a big boost from absentee ballots.

By 11 p.m., Longjohn had 16,415 votes to Franklin’s 11,086. By 11:30 p.m., Franklin called the front-runner to concede defeat and released a statement soon afterward.

Franklin said he will support Longjohn in the general election. He also thanked voters, his staff and his wife, Molly, for supporting him during the race.

“I have enjoyed this experience thoroughly and am a better person for having met so many outstanding people throughout Southwest Michigan,” Franklin said in the statement. “There is no doubt Michigan’s 6th District is ready for change … We need a healthcare system that works for everyone, and no one should go without clean water.”

“I think they have each run races that we can all applaud,” Longjohn said. “I greatly admire what they have done.”

All four primary candidates are first-time politicians who never sought public office before. It was the first Democratic primary in 20 years and by far the most expensive race the 6th District has ever experienced.

Combined, the four Democratic candidates raised about $1.7 million before the primary, an unprecedented amount for the 6th District. But that’s still less than Upton’s $2.2 million raised so far this cycle.

Franklin raised the most on the Democratic side, reporting raising $762,899 this cycle, followed by Longjohn, who raised $672,095.

Longjohn said he is running a campaign that is divorced from “dark money” interests. He committed to not accepting any corporate political action committee funds.

Upton spent $1.05 million before the primary despite not facing a Republican challenger in August.

Eichholz raised $191,852, while Benac raised $76,912.

Eichholz, 70, is a biologist and co-founder of renewable energy company Qmulus LLC. His message at community forums was a focus on strengthening the economy through an infrastructure jobs program and clean energy business.

Tuesday, Eichholz said he is looking forward to focusing on his business but will also support Lonjohn’s campaign against Upton. He was encouraged by the high turnout and expects the momentum generated by four Democratic candidates will carry through into the general election.

Franklin, 66, is president of Franklin Public Affairs and a former lobbyist for Kellogg. He campaigned on protecting Social Security and Medicare, creating universal health care and a stronger EPA.

Franklin carried the support of establishment Michigan Democrats, including heavyweights like former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm. He gained support from Upton’s predecessor Bob Carr and former 7th District Congressman Mark Schauer.

Franklin also pulled in endorsements from Democrats in other states like Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.

Despite his popularity among prominent political figures, Kalamazoo progressives targeted Franklin when demeaning descriptions of women from his 2014 memoir resurfaced on social media.

Franklin spent most of his professional career at Kellogg before establishing a government relations firm in 2005. He also served on WMU’s Board of Trustees for more than a decade.

Three Democrats who ran but did not appear on the ballot endorsed Longjohn after ending their campaign. Longjohn was also supported by Portage Mayor Patricia Randall.

Campaign ads touted President Barack Obama’s recognition of Longjohn as one of the “top healthcare innovators in America,” one of several statements about his experience that Franklin supporters criticized for perceived inaccuracy.

Paul Clements was the Democratic nominee in 2016 and 2014 but failed to obtain enough valid signatures to be on the August ballot. After failing to reverse the decision in federal court, Clements endorsed Longjohn.

Two other candidates supported Longjohn before the primary. Eponine Garrod was disqualified and Aida Gray withdrew from the race.

Benac, 44, is a Western Michigan University history professor and representative of the American Association of University Professors. He ran as a progressive grassroots organizer focused on fighting big-money interests in Washington.

Benac received endorsements from several grassroots and progressive organizations, including the Michigan Democratic Party progressive and cannabis caucuses, Michigan for Single Payer Healthcare and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, among others.

He received endorsements from a coalition of other Democratic candidates for Congress across the country and local politicians like Don Cooney, a Kalamazoo City Commissioner who ran twice unsuccessfully against Upton.

Benac was supported by the Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee focused on replacing establishment Democrats with candidates more aligned with working class values. It was founded in January 2017 by left-leaning commentators and former leadership from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.

The group also supported gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed.

6th U.S. House Democrat Primary: Matt Longjohn will face Fred Upton in Nov. election

6th U.S. House Democrat Primary: Matt Longjohn will face Fred Upton in Nov. election

Matt Longjohn beat out three other Democrats to run against longtime Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Fred Upton in the race for the U.S. 6th Congressional District seat in November.

Longjohn told his supporters Tuesday night, “this is just the end of the beginning.”

A doctor and former public health official, Longjohn campaigned heavily on healthcare reform.

He jumped into the primary to go after the southwest Michigan seat in the U.S. House after Upton voted and persuaded other Republicans to vote for the House’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“I started this campaign taking about the health and quality of life of everyone in this district,” Longjohn said.

Moving forward, Longjohn said, that will be the bedroom of his campaign, “putting people first, their quality of life ahead of corporate interest.”

Also pushing for campaign finance reform, Longjohn has pledged to not take any “dark money” or donations from corporate PACs.

“I’ve said it’s like running uphill in sand, with one arm tied behind your back but we will not take any corporate PAC money,” said Longjohn. “That’s a big part of how we will achieve our goals in healthcare and education and environmental change, too many fingers in too many pies and we’ve got to put 100 percent transparency on money and politics.”

Longjohn defeated three other Democrats to get the opportunity to challenge Upton in the midterm election on November 6.

“I think what’s most exciting is the primary vote is almost twice what we’ve seen in past election cycles,” Longjohn said. “This is the kind of energy we need to rife that blue wave into November, to hold Mr. Upton accountable for votes that don’t represent his rhetoric.”

Unopposed in the primary, Upton is seeking is 17th consecutive term in Congress.

Longjohn said, “Mr. Upton is a formidable foe, he’s an institution and it will take a lot of hard work, a lot of support and it’s going to take some luck but I look forward to campaigning.”

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The Tuesday primary election marks the first time since 1984 that more than one Democrat is seeking the southwest Michigan 6th District Congressional seat, which is currently occupied by U.S. Representative Fred Upton.

Upton, the Republican incumbent, is seeking his 17th consecutive term, running unopposed, but there is a lot of competition among the Democrats.

The candidates are: David Benac, George Franklin, Matt Longjohn and Rich Eichholz.

Matt Longjohn, a medical doctor, is a former YMCA and public health official out of Kalamazoo County. His campaign has focused heavily on fixing the healthcare system and reforming campaign finance.

David Benac, a history professor at Western Michigan University, said he’s running a grassroots campaign to restore the Democratic party’s commitment to represent the working class.

Rich Eichholz, A moderate Democrat, is a scientist and business leader in New Buffalo Township who said he will push for evidenced-based policy.

George Franklin, a former lobbyist who spent most of his career at Kellogg, is using his business experience and community involvement as a platform for his campaign.

The candidates held a forum in Wayland to discuss issues in April.

Paul Clements and Eponine Garrod were disqualified from appearing on the ballot. Aida Gray withdrew her nomination.

Clements and Garrod said in a statements they endorse Matt Longjohn for Michigan 6th District.

Longjohn To Face Upton In November

Longjohn To Face Upton In November

We now know who will face Congressman Fred Upton in November. Coming out on top of the Democratic primary on Tuesday was Kalamazoo County doctor Matt Longjohn. He told WSJM News when launching his campaign that he decided to run because he has the experience as a doctor and former public health official to reform the nation’s healthcare system. He said Tuesday night he thinks he has a serious chance of defeating Upton.

“To get from here to November, I’m feeling good about that blue wave and the tail wind that we have and the energy in this room, and the fact that twice as many people showed up to vote today as in past primaries,” Longjohn said.

Longjohn’s campaign has focused heavily on fixing the healthcare system and reforming campaign finance. He has promised not to take any corporate PAC money. Longjohn also hasn’t been afraid to attack Fred Upton. Running against Longjohn in the Sixth District Democratic primary Tuesday were David Benac, Rich Eichholz, and George Franklin. Franklin in a statement late Tuesday congratulated Longjohn, adding “I support Matt Longjohn in his effort to become the next Congressman of the 6th Congressional district.”

Longjohn wins crowded ticket Upton to take on ‘Blue Wave’ for 6th District

Longjohn wins crowded ticket Upton to take on ‘Blue Wave’ for 6th District

KALAMAZOO — Standing on a makeshift stage inside Bell’s Brewery in downtown Kalamazoo, Matt Longjohn excitedly addressed his crowd of supporters as his victory in Tuesday’s primary was showcased on a large projector screen.

The 46-year-old Democrat referred to his party nomination as the beginning of the “Blue Wave” movement in Michigan, as he now prepares to face incumbent Fred Upton in November’s general election.

“Too many people are working too hard and not being able to make ends meet. This is about putting people first,” Longjohn said Tuesday night. “… This is just the end of the beginning. We have so much more to do. On to Nov. 6.”

Upton, R-St. Joseph, won his party’s nomination Tuesday with no opposition. Seeking a 17th consecutive term, Upton witnessed a rejuvenated opposition this year with an influx of Democratic candidates.

Longjohn, who waited until 11:15 p.m. to declare victory Tuesday, received nearly 38 percent of the votes – finishing with a total of 35,385 votes. In addition, Longjohn secured the most votes in each county within the district.

George Franklin, a Glenn resident, finished Tuesday with the second most votes from his party by claiming 25,108 votes. That was enough for more than 26 percent of Democratic voters.

Franklin released a statement following his primary defeat Tuesday, where he thanked his supporters and conceded the race to Longjohn.

“I would like to congratulate Matt Longjohn on his victory tonight. There is no doubt Michigan’s 6th District is ready for change,” Franklin wrote. “We need a health care system that works for everyone, and no one should go without clean water. I support Matt Longjohn in his effort to become the next congressman of the 6th congressional district.”

David Benac and Rich Eichholz rounded out the bottom half of the Democratic ticket.

Benac, a history professor at Western Michigan University, received 21,097 votes Tuesday, which accounted for 22 percent of the votes. Eichholz, a retired scientist who lives in New Buffalo, collected 12,283 votes – about 13 percent of Democratic votes.

The four-way primary battle marked the first time since 1984 that more than one Democrat has sought the Southwest Michigan seat. That was two years before Upton was first elected to Congress.

The winner’s circle

The district that Longjohn and Upton will focus on this fall includes Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties – along with the majority of Allegan County.

Longjohn said he hopes to improve the health and quality of life for everyone in Southwest Michigan and across the U.S.

The Portage resident said his national career with the YMCA and his ability to influence Medicare policy makes him the best option for the country’s most urgent of needs.

Longjohn’s decision to run came from his visit to the nation’s capital last year. When he was trying to figure out how to volunteer, Longjohn said he was encouraged to run during his visit to the Democratic Party’s office. As a newcomer to politics, Longjohn said he wants to emphasize not just health care, but public health.

Upton, who was re-elected in 2016 with 59 percent of the vote, released a statement on the amount of attention his district’s race is now getting.

The congressman said he looks forward to public forums, debates and “connecting directly with voters to discuss what’s important to them.”

“Our campaign reflects the common-sense, bipartisan work we’ve done and will continue to do. From improving health care, boosting our economy, preserving our Great Lakes, and more. That’s what our campaign will be focused on: the issues,” Upton’s statement said. “We must continue all working together to make Southwest Michigan a great place to live, work and raise a family. We look forward to a tough, clean campaign contrasting our visions for the future.”