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Posted on Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Ann Arbor man wants to prevent John Dingell from seeing a 30th term in Congress

By Ryan J. Stanton

A 25-year-old Ann Arbor man is challenging U.S. Rep. John Dingell for his seat, claiming the long-time congressman isn't progressive enough.

Daniel Marcin, who is pursuing a doctorate in economics at the University of Michigan, filed nearly 1,800 petition signatures with the state on Monday to appear on the ballot.

Running as a Democrat, he'll face Dingell, D-Dearborn, in the Aug. 7 primary, competing in Southeast Michigan's newly drawn 12th District.


Daniel Marcin collects signatures for his campaign against U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn.

Courtesy photo

"I'm definitely to that guy's left," Marcin said of Dingell, attacking the 85-year-old congressman's record on environmental issues, same-sex marriage and tax policy.

"John Dingell acts like he's Mr. Senior Congressman," Marcin said. "If that's the case, he's going to have to own it. So anything that hasn't gotten done, I'm going to blame him for."

Dingell, who has been in Congress since 1955, currently represents Michigan's 15th District, but redistricting since the last election changed the state's districts.

Dearborn businesswoman Karen Jacobsen is running in the 12th District Republican congressional primary.

Dingell kicked off his campaign last week. At an event in Ann Arbor, he was joined by Mayor John Hieftje, Lisa Wozniak of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Amanda Caldwell of the College Democrats at the University of Michigan.

All three praised Dingell's leadership. Wozniak gave him credit for his work on protecting the environment and said Dingell's name is "synonymous with conservation."

"Due to his tireless advocacy for his district, we now have the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, the River Raisin National Park, and a Huron River that is inspiring more attention and more investment each month," Wozniak said. "Michigan is a greener, healthier and more exciting home because of Congressman Dingell's conservation roots and vision."

Caldwell praised Dingell's work on student loan reform, saying it has made it possible for students to attend college knowing their student loan payments will be affordable.

Marcin describes himself as an economist and an environmentalist. He considers himself more liberal than Dingell, but he said he'd still like to privatize the postal service.

Marcin has been campaigning for weeks, including going door-to-door and using various social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. On his website,, he spells out all the reasons why he thinks Dingell's long reign should end.

Marcin said this election isn't about experience or having 29 terms of incumbency, but rather about ideas. He claims Dingell has been an obstruction to addressing climate change, saying "there's been no action on climate change for decades."

Marcin also criticizes Dingell's vote for the Defense of Marriage Act. He wants to repeal the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.

"And if same-sex marriage is a priority, why hasn't he gotten it through yet?" Marcin said. "If he's Mr. Leader, he pretty much sucks at it."

Marcin has no background in politics but considers himself a strong supporter of labor. He has been a trustee of the Huron Valley Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, since January 2011.


John Dingell

He attended the University of Maryland where he received bachelor's degrees in math and economics and participated in research on the health of Maryland's wetlands. He then moved to Ann Arbor to attend U-M where he received a master's degree in economics in 2010.

Taxation is another issue where Marcin says he differs from his opponent. He said he'd fight for taxes that penalize people and corporations based on how much they pollute.

"You should tax bad things before you tax good things," he said. "Income is a good thing, but we tax it. If people are going to pollute, you should be taxing them."

Marcin also said he's in favor of allowing people to choose where 20 percent of their federal income taxes go each year.

At his campaign kickoff last week, Dingell reiterated his support for legislation aimed at clean air and clean water and making food and prescription drugs safer.

He said consumers also deserve to be protected from waste, fraud and abuse, while seniors deserve retirement security and a strong Medicare program.

But most of all, Dingell said, people deserve good jobs with good benefits.

"This is my fight and has always been my fight," he said. "And you can count on me to continue this fight for the priorities of Michigan's people."

Dingell also heralded the Detroit turnaround, saying there is no question that Michigan is firmly established as the headquarters of cars of the future.

"The auto industry has added more than 200,000 jobs in the last two and half years and 2011 was the strongest year of industry growth since 1994," he said. "GM, Ford and Chrysler are starting to run three production shifts a day and are building new facilities to manufacture the small, fuel-efficient cars that consumers demand."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Time for Change

Thu, May 10, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

I don't think the language should be the focus of voters' attention. Politeness and political correctness do not get the job done, good ideas and passion do. John Dingell needs to retire, not die in office.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Dingell has served his terms and it's time for new blood, but further left? There is no left of Dingell.

Martin Church

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

I am a conservative and while I disagree with Dingell on many issues and believe that after 29 terms it's time for retirement. If I had to choose between this person and Dingell I would back Dingell. Everyone has a right to run and I wish someone else would run. But this is not someone who has the ideas we need to change this country.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

JD is too old for office and should retire now strictly for that reason. He's been there long enough its time fora new person with some new ideas to get in there. That's my $.02

Nain Rouge

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

A little history, gentle readers: John Dingell will be 86 on July 6. He has been in Congress since he was 29 years old. In fact even longer, if you include that he served as a page in the House of Representatives from 1938-43 (age 12-17). He won a special election in 1955, to complete his father's term after the senior Dingell died in office. He has run and been reelected 26 times. If he serves until June 8, 2013, he will become the longest-serving member of Congress in American history. I think perhaps it's time he retired, even he doesn't think so. We need fresh faces and new ideas.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

Exactly he's had his time it's time for John to step aside and let new blood in there


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

And just to think he is pursuing a doctorate in economics?

Joel A. Levitt

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

Daniel Marcin is ambitious. John Dingell has a record of accomplishment and, though he is only one Congressman, he knows how to get things done. We owe Dingell our gratitude for 57 years of leadership and effective representation. We owe Marcin a chance to finish his PhD and a chance to start to make a contribution to society.

Anne Arbor

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

Personally, the language doesn't bother me. I like that he's not your typical politician who says buzzwords that lack meaning. And Dingell has shown a lack of leadership on issues like gay marriage. What does bother me is that the facts in the article seem to be incomplete and somewhat misleading. For example, if you check out Marcin's website it says also he was treasurer of his union.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Daniel Marcin isn't very wise! I'll never vote for him.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

Dingell's time has long passed. I will vote for anyone that runs against him and I mean anyone even mickey mouse. Dinosaur Dingell must go. Same old same old is not working in this country. Dingell is a huge part of the problem in this country. Dingell has lost most or all of his power at this point already. At this point I think his wife Debbie is calling the shots anyway. Say what you want the direction this country is headed has to be turned around.

Superior Twp voter

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Man, I am about ABD - Anybody but Dingell. But to learn this dude is "definitely to that guy's left" is NOT a good thing. Believes in global warming? NOPE, lunacy. Mr. Marcin, get your doctoral degree and move to France, Spain, Greece, or Portugal where your liberal ideals will truly be at home.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Perhaps the Angel of the Lord encouraged him to run.

The Black Stallion3

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

That's all we need........another lefty giving the farm away.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Well, after 2008 not much of the farm was left anyway.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

While I'm no fan of Congressman Dingell, I don't think someone who appears to be void of experience is the answer. Look where that's got us in the last 3+ years.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

I know. Stock market went from 8000 to 13000. Unemployment went from 10.2% to 8.1%, GM is still going -bringing MI unemployment down from 14% to 8%, the guy that financed 9/11 is dead, more illegal alien criminals have been deported than ever, women have the right to the same pay as men, unemployed people have gotten money to keep them in food and rent, Economy growing again with manufacturing up the most since 2004, prescription drug "donut hole" is on it's way out, drug costs for seniors reduced. It's horrible!

Unusual Suspect

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

I agree with the criticisms of this guy's language. His Website says he was an Eagle scout. He's not doing a very good job of representing that fine, unique group of people by using that language.

Top Cat

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Replacing an 85 year old with a 25 year old ? Can't we just find a 55 years old who won't support trillion dollar deficits?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

We had a fifty something in charge for 8 years. He racked up 5 T in debt, and many of those posting here cheered him on. I heard something about an accomplished mission?

Unusual Suspect

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Not in this town, no.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

I have no problem with his remarks, but some of his policies visons are ridiculous and not really progressive or liberal in any way. I would happily vote for a Lynn Rivers or other candidate left of Dingell. but this is not the one. I think if Dingell wanted to leave behind a legacy, he would allow others the seat.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

I met Marcin yesterday at the Burns Park Run collecting signatures. He is impressive in person - it's too bad he made these flip remarks.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Well, as much as I'm a progressive, and would be interested in someone to Dingell's left, I hesitate to support someone who is so flippant with his criticisms of someone who has put in a lifetime of service in the office to which this new guy aspires. He refers to Sen. Dingell as "that guy?" and says that as a leader, he "sucks at it?" Just lost my vote.

Bertha Venation

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

I'd LOVE to see Lynn in.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

Agreed. I'd love to see a challenger from Dingell's left, but not this kid. I'm still displeased that the GOP redistricted Lynn Rivers out of her seat. Maybe she could mount a comeback.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

I dislike this guy's rhetoric. "He sucks at it" is not a very expressive or respectful way to complain about a record going back 30 years. And he's been in the state, what, 3 years? It's that entitled Millennial attitude, I guess.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

While Dingell really should go, I don't think a 25 year old lifetime student with minimal experience and who uses the word "sucks" in interviews, is what we need representing us in Congress. Get a job, raise a family, learn how the people you represent live their lives....then try running for Congress.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

On the other hand, Congress is currently full of those who got a job, raised a family, learned how the people they represent live their lives...and they're nothing to crow about. Maybe some diversity by bringing in younger people will help create new ideas.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

While I agree that Marcin doesn't help his cause by using the word "sucks", isn't it true that Dingell was close to the same age as Marcin when he began his tenure in Congress? If Dingell is 85 years old and he is seeking his 30th term, wouldn't he have been about 27 years old when first elected? Believe me, I am not defending Marcin....just sayin'.....

Unusual Suspect

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

I was encouraged by the headline, but then saw this: "'I'm definitely to that guy's left,' Marcin said of Dingell." Geez, that's the LAST thing we need.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Open minds and parachutes. Well, George W. Bush gave many billions to the non-working bank executives.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11 a.m.

Whats the definition of to the left of stupid ? I'm confused.....

The Black Stallion3

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

I agree, just how much more can the middle class afford to give to the non working class?