IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. -- Dan Benishek, Republican congressional candidate for Michigan's 1st District, bailed on plans to attend a major candidate forum for that race held in Kingsford, Mich., last Thursday, Oct. 7. Instead, he held a fundraiser just over a mile away in Iron Mountain. Rather than face voters and have an honest discussion of the issues with the other candidates in the race, Benishek sent a surrogate in his place.
"It is clear where Dan Benishek’s priorities lie," said State Representative Gary McDowell, a candidate for Congress in Michigan’s 1st District. "It’s impossible for any candidate to be everywhere at once but for Dan Benishek to be a mile away raising money while sending someone in his place to face voters is insulting and disrespectful to the people who took time out of their busy days to come learn more about their choices in November."
McDowell as well as Green Party candidate Ellis Boal, Libertarian Party candidate Keith Shelton and Independent candidate Glenn Wilson were all in attendance, as were candidates for the local state House, state Senate and Dickinson County Commission races. The candidates addressed questions from local voters on issues such as Social Security and Medicare, health care and tax cuts.
"It is clear from his position on the issues that Dan Benishek has the wrong priorities, but his decision last night to cancel on a public forum to hold a fundraiser across town should make all northern Michigan residents question where his priorities will lie if he is elected to Congress," McDowell said on Friday, Oct. 8.
This was not the first time Benishek has cancelled an appearance with voters to raise money instead. In September, Benishek was invited to and was scheduled to attend a candidate forum hosted by the Michigan State Employees Retirement Association in Escanaba but canceled in order to raise money from lobbyists in Lansing, leaving McDowell as the only congressional candidate to address the group.
"Dan Benishek is either avoiding the voters or avoiding me but either way it is clear he has picked a side and it’s not ours," McDowell said.