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Detroit News and Free Press endorse congressional candidates in 2014 primaries

Both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press issued their endorsements for congressional candidates in the August 5 primary this weekend, the News on Saturday and the Free Press on Sunday.

Debbie Dingell earned endorsements this week from three Detroit newspapers, the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, and Michigan Chronicle.
Debbie Dingell earned endorsements this week from three Detroit newspapers, the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, and Michigan Chronicle.
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Both metropolitan dailies endorsed Debbie Dingell for the Democratic nomination to succeed her husband John in the Twelfth Congressional District, which includes Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding areas of eastern Washtenaw County as well as western and southern Wayne County.

The Free Press endorsed incumbent Tim Walberg for the Republican nomination in the Seventh Congressional District, which encompasses western and northern Washtenaw County along with a wide swath of southern Michigan extending from Monroe County to Branch County, as well as the counties of Jackson and Eaton. The News made no recommendation in the contest.

Both papers also issued endorsements in the Eighth Congressional District, which borders Washtenaw County to the north, and Eleventh Congressional District, which adjoins Washtenaw County to the east. Each district features intensely contested primaries for both major parties' nominations.

About Dingell, the News wrote "Debbie Dingell is the better choice. The former General Motors executive knows her way around Washington and will hit the ground as an effective representative for her district."

The Free Press was more effusive, calling her "a ubiquitous community activist and longtime Democratic Party leader" and proclaiming that she "is superbly qualified to take her husband’s baton without breaking stride."

Earlier this week, Dingell had received the endorsement of another Detroit newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, which wrote that she would "enhance Michigan's stature in Washington." She responded to the paper's support with a statement on her campaign Facebook page.

"It was an honor to receive the endorsement of the Michigan Chronicle today. I promise to remain committed to the values I have spent my lifetime fighting for and the trust placed in me in their endorsement."

About her primary opponent Raymond Mullins, the Free Press cited his "long and admirable record of community activism," then noted his opposition to federal intervention to support the auto industry. The paper concluded that Mullins "lacks the experience or expertise to serve 12th District constituents effectively."

The Detroit News also endorsed Terry Bowman over Stephen Farkas in the Republican primary for the Twelfth Congressional District, even though Farkas is not on the ballot, having withdrawn from the race.

In addition to facing each other, the winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries will also contend with Libertarian nominee Bhagwan Dashairya and independent candidate Gary Walkowicz in November.

The Free Press gave a lukewarm recommendation for Walberg, saying that he "has had a lackluster record, but is the clear preference to GOP challenger Douglas North." About North, the paper cited his challenge to "the constitutionality of the federal income tax" and pledge "to oppose U.S. military intervention abroad for any purpose."

The victor in the Republican primary will face Democrat Pam Byrnes, Libertarian Ken Proctor, U.S. Taxpayers Party nominee Rick Strawcutter, and independent candidate David Swartout in the general election.

Both the News and Free Press agreed on their endorsements in the congressional districts neighboring Washtenaw County. In the Eighth, which includes Livingston County, Ingham County, and northernmost Oakland County, the two papers endorsed Mike Bishop for the Republican nomination and Eric Schertzing for the Democratic nomination. Bishop is contesting the nomination with Tom McMillin. Schertzing faces a crowded field including Ken Darga, Susan Grettenberger, and Jeffrey Hank. The winners of the primaries will be on the November ballot with Green Party nominee Jim Casha and Libertarian nominee James Weeks.

In the Eleventh, which encompasses northwestern Wayne County and southwestern Oakland County, both dailies supported Mike Trott as the Republican nominee and Bobby McKenzie as the Democratic nominee. Trott is looking to unseat incumbent Kerry Bentivolio, while McKenzie is in a tight race with Anil Kumar, Bill Roberts, and Nancy Skinner. The victors from the primary will face each other and Libertarian John Tatar.