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Debbie Dingell to announce candidacy for retiring husband’s seat Friday

This afternoon, the Washington Post reported that Debbie Dingell, wife of retiring U.S. Representative John Dingell, plans to announce her candidacy for her husband’s seat in Congress Friday. The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, and Ann Arbor News followed up with articles containing details confirming the Post’s report.

Debbie Dingell, wife of U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), will likely announce her candidacy for her husband’s seat. Here she is at the luncheon where Dingell announced his retirement.
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Mrs. Dingell would be running for the Democratic nomination for Michigan’s 12th Congressional District, which includes Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding areas of eastern Washtenaw County along with portions of southern and western Wayne County. Should she win the seat, she’d be the third Dingell to represent Michigan in Congress, as both her husband and her husband’s late father served in the U.S. House of Representatives with the senior Dingell having first been elected in 1933 while the junior Dingell replaced his father in 1955.

Dingell’s announcement has been expected. The Detroit Free Press had published yesterday that she would be interested in running for her husband's seat, a move her husband appears to support. He told the Free Press, “if my wife runs, the lovely Deborah, I will vote for her.”

Dingell is no stranger to electoral politics. She was elected to the Wayne State University Board of Governors in 2006 as a Democrat and is currently the board’s Chair. Her term expires at the end of this year.

According to the WSU Board website, “Dingell is currently the President of D2 Strategies, and is Chair of the Manufacturing Initiative of the American Automotive Policy Council.” She also “recently completed a more than 30 year career at General Motors as a senior executive, where she headed the GM Foundation.”

Dingell may face opposition in the Democratic Primary. The Ann Arbor News has reported that State Senator Rebekah Warren, who represents Ann Arbor, has considered running for the seat if it came open. Also, the Free Press mentioned Eugene King of Ann Arbor, who serves in the Obama Administration, and State Senator Hoon Yung Hopgood of Taylor, as a potential candidates.

The contest is getting serious already, as another Free Press article mentioned that a reporter for the paper had recieved a robocall on Monday night testing Dingell against both Warren and King.

The seat favors Democrats, as Barack Obama won 66% of the vote in 2012, while that same election night saw Dingell earning 68.5% against Republican Cynthia Kallgren with 28.4% and Libertarian Richard Secula's 3.1%. Even in the Tea Party wave election of 2010, Dingell earned 57% to defeat a full house of challengers led by Republican Rob Steele, who earned 40%.

Dingell, Warren, and any others, Democratic or Republican, have to hurry to get nominating petitions in, as the deadline is April 22nd for major party candidates to get on the August 5th primary ballot.

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