(07/31/12) - With less than 100 days to go before the general election, political campaigns are heating up. That includes the race for the 5th Congressional District seat, which is up for grabs due to longtime Congressman Dale Kildee's retirement.
Sole Democratic candidate Dan Kildee arguably has two big advantages going into this election. First, he knows how Washington works because of his experience with the Land Bank, and second, he's got the support of uncle and 36-year veteran congressman, Dale Kildee.
"This is a local election, but it has national implications," Dan Kildee told ABC12's Ted Fioraliso in Washington, D.C.
Kildee has been spending time in our nation's capital, meeting with House members and House leadership to learn more about the Democrats' message for the 2012 election. Kildee says he wants to make sure the Michigan communities he could possibly represent are part of the national dialogue.
"To understand how the city functions and how Capitol Hill works is certainly an advantage that I have, and it's one I plan to use to do things on behalf of Flint, Saginaw and Bay City," Kildee said.
But it's the voters back home in the 5th District who will ultimately decide if Kildee is the right choice to represent them. Kildee says, when he's back home, he visits a different part of the district almost every day.
"Obviously, I'm quite familiar with Genesee County. I've spent a lot of time there. But I'm getting to meet people in the northern part of the district where I'm not quite as well known in," he said.
That's because the lines of the 5th District were redrawn as part of redistricting. All of Bay, Arenac, and Iosco Counties will be part of a new 5th District. They were previously part of the 1st District, represented by Republican Dan Benishek. Kildee says he's gotten a good reception in those areas so far.
"They want somebody they can know and talk to," Kildee said. "People don't really care so much about partisanship. They want someone who will go to bat for them and will work hard. That's been a consistent message I get no matter where I go."
Kildee says he's going to make his campaign about his vision for what he wants to do in Congress, not his opponents. "That's just not the way I'm wired," he said.