Dan Benishek

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Dan Benishek
Dan Benishek, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.JPG
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byBart Stupak
Succeeded byJack Bergman
Personal details
Daniel Joseph Benishek

(1952-04-20) April 20, 1952 (age 68)
Iron River, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Judy Benishek[1]
ResidenceCrystal Falls, Michigan
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
WebsiteOfficial website

Daniel Joseph Benishek (born April 20, 1952) is an American physician and politician who was the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 1st congressional district from 2011 to 2017.[2] He is a member of the Republican Party.

Early life, education, and medical career[edit]

Benishek was born in Iron River, Michigan in 1952,[1] the son of Helen (née Kovaleski) and Joseph Benishek. Three of his paternal great-grandparents were Bohemian (Czech) immigrants, while his maternal grandparents were Polish immigrants.[3] His father was killed in local iron mines in 1957, so Benishek was raised by his widowed mother and extended family. He worked in the family business, the Iron River Hotel, until he went to college. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology.[4] From there, he graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1978. Prior to his election to Congress, he was a general surgeon in the Dickinson County Healthcare System.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives elections[edit]

Benishek speaks at a reception at the Republican Party headquarters in Bay County.

2010 election[edit]

Benishek formally announced his candidacy for Congress on March 16, 2010, running against incumbent Democrat Bart Stupak.[5] Stupak's vote in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act fueled an outpouring of support for Benishek, who had no Internet presence aside from a basic website on the day the bill was passed. He received more than $50,000 in unsolicited donations in the first 48 hours after Stupak's vote for the bill on March 21, 2010.[6][7] "It's amazing, I just can't believe it," he said regarding the support he has gotten. "I need to use this momentum to repeal this health care bill and I'm going to do it. We're going to take over, the Republicans are going to regain the House of Representatives and we're going to repeal this health care bill."[8] The American Spectator called him "The Most Popular Republican in America" on March 21, in the wake of Stupak's yea vote.[9] Stupak announced his retirement on April 9, 2010.[10][11] Benishek won the Republican primary against State Senator Jason Allen by 15 votes.[12]

On November 2, 2010, in the general election, Dan Benishek defeated Democratic nominee State Representative Gary McDowell, Independent Glenn Wilson, Libertarian Keith Shelton, Green Ellis Boal, and UST Patrick Lambert. Benishek was sworn into office on January 5, 2011, as a member of the 112th United States Congress; he succeeded Bart Stupak.[13]

2012 election[edit]

Benishek faced re-election against McDowell in the 2012 election cycle. A September 20, 2012 Public Policy Polling poll showed the race as a statistical dead heat, with McDowell leading Benishek 44% to 42%.[14] Benishek was re-elected by a margin of 2,297 votes, less than 1% of the total votes cast.[15] Benishek endorsed Herman Cain in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.[16]

2014 election[edit]

Benishek's opponent for the 2014 midterm elections was Democratic nominee Jerry Cannon.[17] In October 2014, the Rothenberg Political Report moved the district from one that "tilts Republican" to "Republican favored."[18] Benishek won reelection with 52% of the vote, which was the closest race for a victorious Republican incumbent in 2014.[19]

2016 election[edit]

After temporarily considering running for a fourth term, Benishek decided not to seek re-election in 2016; he endorsed Republican State Sen. Tom Casperson as his successor.[20]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Legislation sponsored[edit]

On January 4, 2013, Benishek introduced H.R. 163, a bill identical to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act (S. 23; 113th Congress), which was introduced into the U.S. Senate by Carl Levin.[21] The bill would designate as wilderness about 32,500 acres of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the state of Michigan. The newly designated lands and inland waterways would comprise the Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness, a new component of the National Wilderness Preservation System.[22] Benishek expressed his pleasure that the bill "was developed locally," describing it as "the ideal way federal land management should occur, with input from the local communities."[23] The Senate version, S. 23, passed the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama on March 13, 2014.

On May 21, 2013, Benishek introduced the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2013 (H.R. 2072; 113th Congress), a bill that would require the Inspector General (IG) of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to take additional action if the VA has not appropriately responded to an IG report that recommends actions to be taken by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to address a VA public health or safety issue.[24] The Secretary would be required to act swiftly on such IG reports, with the bill specifying actions to take.[24] The Secretary would also be forbidden from giving any bonuses to managers with unresolved issues.[24][25] Benishek said that the bill targets "bureaucrats in Washington who drag their feet and don't do their jobs."[25]

Political positions[edit]

Benishek favors reduced government spending and a smaller government, and is pro-life and pro-gun rights.[26] In 2014, he received an A+ grade from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.[27] He supports term limits and said before he was elected in 2010, "I am happy to tell voters I strongly favor term limits. Three terms and you’re retired seems about right to me." He was also a signatory to a pledge by U.S. Term Limits that would impose a three-term limit on Congressmen.[28] However, in March 2015, Benishek announced he would break that pledge and run for a 4th term.[29] In September 2015, he reverted course, announcing that he would in fact retire at the end of his current term rather than seeing re-election in 2016.[30] In healthcare reform, he supports tort reform and allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines without federal regulation.[31] He opposes federal funding for elective abortions.[32] He supports lower taxes and increased border security.[33] Benishek dismisses the scientific consensus on climate change.[34][35][36]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Congressional Cement Caucus[37]

Personal life[edit]

Benishek lives with his wife Judy in Iron County. They have five children and four grandchildren.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Reichard, John (November 3, 2010). "112th Congress: Dan Benishek, R-Mich. (1st District)". Congressional Quarterly. Retrieved November 7, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "CRYSTAL-FALLS, Michigan (MI) Political Contributions by Individuals – Donations to Congress, local, or national races, Republican or Democrat and other candidates". City-data.com. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  3. ^ "Dan Benishek ancestry". Rootsweb. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 2016-04-17 at the Wayback Machine, UM Government relations.
  5. ^ a b Hoffman, Lisa (March 16, 2010). "Benishek runs for Congress". Iron Mountain Daily News. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  6. ^ Schaper, David (March 28, 2010). "Yoopers Reserved Over Stupak's 'Yes' Vote". National Public Radio. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  7. ^ Farnam, T.W. (March 23, 2010). "Stupak Challenger Gains Support". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  8. ^ WLUC. "WLUC - Upper Michigan News, Weather, and Sports - WLUC - Home". Retrieved 15 June 2017.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Robert Stacy McCain (March 21, 2010). "Dan Benishek Just Became the Most Popular Republican in America". The American Spectator. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  10. ^ Davey, Monica (2010-04-09). "Under Fire for Abortion Deal, Stupak to Retire". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  11. ^ "Stupak to announce retirement". CNN. April 9, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  12. ^ Election results Michigan Government
  13. ^ "Michigan Election Results". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "Michigan 1st Congressional District Survey Results" (PDF). Real Clear Politics. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  15. ^ McGillivary, Brian (7 November 2012). "Benishek won by less than 1 percent". Traverse City Record Eagle. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  16. ^ Tim Mak (5 November 2011). "Herman Cain lies low, snags endorsement". Politico. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  17. ^ "Retired general, Gitmo commander Jerry Cannon to challenge Dan Benishek for U.S. House seat in 2014". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  18. ^ Currier, Craig (20 October 2014). "Benishek doubles Cannon's campaign bankroll". Petoskey News. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  19. ^ https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/dont-call-2014-an-anti-incumbent-election/
  20. ^ Spangler, Todd (January 14, 2016). "U.S. Rep. Benishek endorses Casperson for seat". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  21. ^ "H.R. 163 – Related Bills". United States Congress. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  22. ^ "CBO – S. 23". United States Congress. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  23. ^ Thompson, Carol (1 March 2014). "Sleeping Bear Dunes legislation moves forward". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Archived from the original on 2014-03-04. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  24. ^ a b c "H.R. 2072 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  25. ^ a b Katz, Eric (20 August 2013). "Prohibiting VA Senior Exec Bonuses for 5 Years Would Save $18 Million". Government Executive. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  26. ^ CONTRIBUTIONS NOW POURING IN FOR STUPAK’S OPPONENT Archived March 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ VanDyke, Todd (September 26, 2014). "The Keweenaw Report". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  28. ^ Stu Rothenberg. "Is Dan Benishek Waffling on Term Limits?". Roll Call. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  29. ^ Spangler, Todd (March 24, 2015). "Despite term-limit pledge, Benishek to seek re-election". Detroit Free Press.
  30. ^ "Dan Benishek to Retire in 2016 (Updated)". Roll Call. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  31. ^ "Benishek 2014". danbenishekforcongress.com. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Dan Benishek on Abortion". On the Issues. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  33. ^ "Solid Principles Podcast Episode 29". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  34. ^ Juliet Eilperin (July 24, 2012). "Environmentalists target 5 Republicans who question humans' impact on climate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  35. ^ "Benishek questioned on global warming, climate change". October 7, 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  36. ^ "Northern Michigan candidate debates and forums". October 21, 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  37. ^ "The Cement Caucus". America's Cement Manufacturers. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  38. ^ "Benishek 2014". danbenishekforcongress.com. Retrieved 15 June 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bart Stupak
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Jack Bergman