Mike O'Brien (Michigan politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mike O'Brien
Candidate O'Brien Head Shot.jpg
Democratic candidate for
United States House of Representatives elections, 2012
Election date
November 6, 2012
Opponent(s) Fred Upton (R)
Incumbent Fred Upton
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Teresa
Residence Douglas, Michigan
Occupation Business Development and Management Consulting
Website http://mikeobrienforcongress.com/

Mike O'Brien was the Democratic candidate for Michigan's 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives during the November 2012 election. He was defeated by Fred Upton who received 54.5% of the vote compared to O'Brien's 42.7%.[1] O'Brien, a former U.S. Marine, farmer, and business development director, advocates for effective Washington leadership emphasizing the "four E's" of the Economy, Education, Energy, and Environment.[2] Though initial polls showed his opponent, Fred Upton with a sizable lead, O'Brien managed to cut it down through smart campaign moves and a strong debate performance.[3][4] As of October, polls show the two candidates in a statistical "dead-heat" heading into the election.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Born as the oldest son of a single mother, Mike grew up attending public schools.[6] His mother, forced to hold down two and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet, worked hard to ensure that Mike and his brothers had a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, and an education to guide them later in life. When these jobs were not enough, the O'Brien family relied on government assistance to put food on the table. O'Brien has stated that he "will never, ever forget" how the his government supported him.[7] After graduating from high school, Mike joined the United States Marine Corps where he rose to the position of platoon sergeant for special operations before leaving the corps to marry his high school sweetheart.[8][9] Upon leaving the corps, O'Brien put himself through college at Washington University while working full-time in construction and various office jobs and graduated in 1994.[10]

Business career[edit]

Mike O'Brien began work as a management consultant and business development expert after graduation, working internationally to expand and improve companies.[11] Upon returning to the United States, he expanded the real estate development for USF Holland, a Michigan based trucking company and started a successful local farming operation in the Fennville and Holland areas providing grass-based organic meats to "local families and restaurants."[12] After his farm's closure during the 2008 recession, O'Brien became the regional director for Bluewater Wind, a leading offshore wind developer, and served on then-Michigan Governor Granholm's Offshore Wind Council developing regulatory clarity to encourage billions of dollars in clean energy investment for Michigan.[13][14] Currently, O'Brien is a project team leader developing and commercializing new products for Herman Miller, a Michigan based furniture manufacturer.[15][16]

Congressional campaign[edit]

O'Brien in 2012

When Mike O'Brien announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress in the sixth district on April 21, 2012, his chances looked extremely slim.[17] Estimates from the New York Times and Roll Call had the sixth district listed as strong Republican and unlikely to turn in the 2012 election.[18][19] However after picking up a string of key endorsements including those of the American Federation of Teachers, the Michigan AFL-CIO, UAW, and the Sierra Club, as well as endorsements from U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, and former Congressman Mark Schauer, O'Brien started gaining momentum.[20][21][22][23] According to FEC reports filed by the campaign in July, O'Brien had raised more money from individual contributions than any previous candidate to run against Upton as early as June and has continued raising strongly since then.[24] O'Brien began airing ads on both network and cable television channels across the sixth district highlighting his military background and business career.[25] In the week leading up to the first congressional debate between O'Brien and Upton, polling showed O'Brien and Upton in a statistical "dead-heat."[26]

Debates[edit]

The first debate between Mike O'Brien and Fred Upton took place on Oct. 8th at Western Michigan University in front of a packed hall.[27] In the debate, O'Brien "laid out a major component of his campaign: that "Congress is broken" and "we're not being served in this district the way we need to be served." Upton declined to counter the assertion that the Ryan Budget he backed cut funding for many programs he claimed to be in favor of during the debate and, when pushed on energy subsidies for oil and gas companies, called for ending all subsidies to energy companies, whether fossil or alternative. O'Brien responded, "We invest heavily in oil, gas, coal, and nuclear to this day, and if the congressman is now saying publicly that he'd like to end all those subsidies, then I congratulate him and I look forward to that vote."[28]

Polling[edit]

An early online poll by MLive.com, a Michigan news network, showed O'Brien leading Upton by a significant margin in the sixth district.[29] A second poll by MLive found that a majority of people believed that a Democrat could beat Upton in the district.[30] A poll on Oct. 3 and 4 of likely voters in the sixth district found O'Brien and Upton in a "dead-heat," with neither candidate maintaining a lead outside the margin of error.[31]

Endorsements[edit]

Personal life[edit]

O'Brien is married to his high school sweetheart, Teresa, and lives with her and their ten-year-old daughter in Douglas, Michigan. He enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Politico.com
  2. ^ "Jobs and the Four E's". 
  3. ^ "Red to Blue 2012". Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Guillen, Alex. "Upton, challenger tangle over subsidies - Tester, Rehberg slam each other over industry backing - Calif. senators want gas price investigations - Salazar to make renewable energy announcement". Politico. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien poll shows challenger in 'dead heat' with Congressman Fred Upton". MLive. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Coeman, Zak. "Democrat Campaigns for House". The Western Herald. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  7. ^ O'Brien, Mike. "Campaign Announcement Speech". Union Pier, Michigan: Harbor Country Progress. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  8. ^ Miller, Mark. "Meet Mike O'Brien". bloggingformichigan. 
  9. ^ "Douglas Democrat to run for SW Mich. US House seat". WWMT. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Miller, Mark. "Meet Mike O'Brien". Daily Kos. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Mike O'Brien Profile". Ballotpedia. 
  12. ^ Adams, Noah (10 February 2009). "Raising Free-Range Animals". National Public Radio. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Exploring Our Energy Future". West Michigan Environmental Action Council. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "COUNCIL MEMBERS". Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  15. ^ MikeOBrienforCongress. "About Mike O'Brien". Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Samuelson, Darren. "Dems Eye Political Novice for Upton's Seat". Politico. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien to announce candidacy for Congress tomorrow; Rep. Fred Upton endorsed by Dale Shugars". Mlive.com. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "House Race Ratings". New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "2012 House Race Ratings Map". Roll Call. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Fred Upton, Mike O'Brien to have 2 debates in 6th District Congressional race". MLive. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "OBrien Gets UAW Endorsement". WSJM. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Sierra Club 2012 Endorsements". Sierra Club. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "2012 Michigan State AFL-CIO Endorsements". Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  24. ^ "Details for Committee ID : C00519892". Federal Elections Committee. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien launches first television ad of campaign; Kalamazoo County candidate forum scheduled". MLive. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  26. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien poll shows challenger in 'dead heat' with Congressman Fred Upton". MLive. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  27. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien poll shows challenger in 'dead heat' with Congressman Fred Upton". MLive. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  28. ^ Guillen, Alex. "Upton, challenger tangle over subsidies - Tester, Rehberg slam each other over industry backing - Calif. senators want gas price investigations - Salazar to make renewable energy announcement". Politico. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  29. ^ Klug, Fritz (15 August 2012). "Poll: Fred Upton or Mike O'Brien: If election was held today, who would you vote for?". MLive. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  30. ^ Klug, Fritz (13 August 2012). "Poll: Does a Democrat have a chance to win the 6th District congressional seat?". MLive. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  31. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Southwest Michigan Politics: Mike O'Brien poll shows challenger in 'dead heat' with Congressman Fred Upton". MLive. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  32. ^ "2012 Michigan State AFL-CIO Endorsements". AFL-CIO. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  33. ^ Klug, Fritz. "UAW gets behind Mike O'Brien in bids for Congress". MLive. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  34. ^ "AFT Michigan Take Action: Political Action Center: Endorsements". AFT. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  35. ^ Klug, Fritz. "Mike O'Brien raises $95,000 since July 19 in race against Congressman Fred Upton". MLive. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "Sierra Club 2012 Endorsements". Sierra Club. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  37. ^ "Endorsements". Boilmakers Local 169. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  38. ^ Eby, John (25 April 2012). "O'Brien Includes Cass in Congress Kickoff". The Cassopolis Vigilant. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 

External links[edit]