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.”
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.
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.