Michigan grad student wants to unseat longest-serving member of U.S. House

The Takeaway

U.S. Rep. John Dingell has served in Congress since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

The Michigan Democrat is the current longest-serving member of Congress, first elected in 1955, making him the longest-serving representative only to serve in only the House and the third-longest serving overall.

This year he is running for his 30th term.

But it won’t be easy. For the first time in a decade Dingell may face a primary challenge — from Daniel Marcin, a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, who is working to get on the ballot for the August 7th primary.

“This election for me is not about experience,” he said. “This election is about ideas. And John Dingell has failed to deliver on environmental action. He’s failed to deliver on same-sex marriage and he’s failed to deliver on sound economics.”

Marcin said his generation sees problems in areas like the economy and economics and he blames Dingell for obstructing progress on addressing them.

Dingell declined to respond to Marcin’s comments.

Typically, incumbents are viewed as having an advantage in that they know how to get things done; they know how to bring benefits to back to their districts.

But Marcin said Dingell doesn’t even succeed there. In terms of federal spending, Dingell ranks below the median of all congressman, he said.

“Half of the members of Congress are getting more spending in their district than the dean of the house is,” Marcin said.

He also took aim at Dingell’s unflinching support for autoworkers, to the extent of opposing stricter environmental measures out of fear it could cost autoworkers their jobs.

“Everybody breathes. Everybody drinks water. John Dingell’s concerned that if there’s just a slightly stronger environmental protection, autoworkers would lose their jobs,” Marcin said. “I don’t believe in this false tradeoff.”

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