Environmental group launches campaign to unseat Michigan congressman
The Washington Post reports that Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, is one of the League of Conservation Voters’ “Flat Earth Five.”
The group that promotes pro-environmental policies and candidates targeted Benishek in a $1.5 million campaign to unseat five House climate change deniers in November. Benishek’s district encompasses the Upper Peninsula and the northeast Lower Peninsula. Democrat Gary McDowell, who’s running against Benishek, says greenhouse gases contribute to climate change, the Post reported.
“Representative Benishek’s extreme views put him at odds with scientists, his constituents and the Pentagon, which has called climate change a national security issue,” said Jeff Gohringer, national press secretary for the league. “He has had some rather outlandish statements regarding climate change.”
The organization references an iCaucus interview Benishek gave in 2010 to iCaucus, an organization that vets candidates on their conservative values. Benishek called the scientific research on climate change into question when asked about the issue, and said “it’s just some scheme.”
“It’s all baloney,” he said in the interview. “To spend trillions of our dollars on this unproven science stuff is ridiculous.”
The response troubled the League of Conservation Voters.
“We can’t count on him to solve a problem that he can’t even admit exists,” Gohringer said.
When asked about the designation, Benishek’s communications director, Raffi Williams, sent this email :
“It is troubling that Gary McDowell and his Washington allies would rather attack Dr. Benishek than explain to Northern Michigan families why he supports Nancy Pelosi’s failed policies such as the national energy tax that would destroy millions of jobs and raise gas prices. While Dr. Benishek has been fighting to help this country become energy independent now and for future generations, Gary McDowell would rather tax Northern Michigan families into the ground with his Cap and Trade boondoggle.”
The Michigan congressman joins New York Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R- Onondaga Hill on the league’s list. Three more incumbents will be named later – one a week.