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Michigan's race for Congress: Jack Bergman seeks fourth term in 1st District

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman

In Michigan’s northernmost congressional district, incumbent U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, is a favorite to secure a fourth term in the Nov. 8 election.

Bergman is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran whose home address is near the Wisconsin border in the Upper Peninsula. He also owned a business and worked as a commercial airline pilot.

Since taking office, Bergman has supported additional funding for upgrading the Soo Locks, beefing up broadband infrastructure in rural areas and addressing veterans’ issues in his capacity as a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

In late 2020, he was one of four Michigan congressional Republicans who joined a brief proposing to overturn President Joe Biden’s popular-vote win in Michigan. He also objected to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College results following the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol. 

Challenging him for the seat is Democrat Bob Lorinser, a Marquette physician who worked as a family doctor and a regional medical officer for the Department of State before returning to serve as medical director for the Marquette County Health Department in 2020.

Lorinser wants to focus on providing universal health care, Medicare and Medicaid expansion, more accessible and affordable public education and training, living wages for workers and stronger social safety nets. 

Libertarian Andrew Gale and Liz Hakola of the Working Class Party are also vying for the seat.

How things have changed

Currently, Bergman represents the entirety of the Upper Peninsula and a wide swath of the northern Lower Peninsula, including Traverse City, Alpena and Grayling. 

The new political map hasn’t changed much but extends further south to include Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco and Arenac counties and a portion of northern Wexford County. The new district no longer includes Manistee County and a portion of Mason County in northwest Michigan. It was and remains the largest district by land mass in the state.

What to expect

This seat is solidly Republican. Bergman’s incumbency aside, a Republican has been representing the region since former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak left office in 2010. Redistricting didn’t change that. Indeed, the new maps bumped up Republicans’ political edge from nine points to 13 points.

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