The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Candidates visit local Democrats


June 14, 2018

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE Matt Morgan talks to William Charaf Tuesday at a campaign event at the Elk & Hound Restaurant. Morgan is waging a write-in campaign to win the August primary and appear on the ballot against Jack Bergman to represent Michigan's First Congressional District.


Ironwood - Gogebic County Democrats gathered Tuesday night to meet with a pair of candidates seeking the party's nomination for state and national offices representing the area, especially Matt Morgan, who is looking to be the Democrat challenging Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, representing Michigan's First Congressional District.

Morgan took a few minutes to meet with the Daily Globe prior to addressing the gathered Democrats.

He said he decided to run for Congress in response to the 2016 election.

"The simple answer is because I love my kids and I was deeply concerned about the direction this Congress looked like it was taking," Morgan said, regarding his motives for entering the race.

A Traverse City resident who retired from the Marine Corps as a Lt. Col. in 2013, Morgan said he moved to Michigan with his wife to be nearer to his in-laws.

While they currently reside downstate, Morgan said the family has roots in the Upper Peninsula, as his wife is from L'Anse.

"Her dad was the high school principal there for many years," Morgan said.

Morgan outlined several of his priorities if he was elected, including protecting rural healthcare services.

"I tell you, the thing I hear more than anything else is about healthcare ... three out of five times, that's what starts any conversation with any voter," Morgan said.

Part of his focus on healthcare is keeping Upper Peninsula hospitals open and providing services.

While Ironwood has some alternatives in Wisconsin, Morgan argued much of the U.P. would be have trouble getting access to medical care in an emergency if their local hospital closed or reduced its services.

Later, when addressing the audience, Morgan argued healthcare availability was part of the effort to retain and attract people to the U.P. as families won't settle in an area without an easily available doctor.

He also talked about the important of funding a variety of infrastructure improvements, acknowledging this is often a popular campaign line that is rarely followed up on.

"We hear politicians talking about infrastructure all the time. But the fact is, they haven't appropriated the money," Morgan told the Daily Globe. "If you're not invested in these issues, they're not going to fix themselves - and that's everything from the Soo Locks to broadband Internet."

As a Democrat running in a district which went Republican in 2016 and includes all the U.P. and part of the Lower Peninsula, Morgan said meeting people is key to turning the district blue in November.

"That's one of the reasons we were out knocking on doors today," Morgan said. "It's one thing for you to say, 'Well I don't vote for Democrats.' It's another thing to say, 'Well, I won't vote for you.'"

A recent appeals court decision confirmed Morgan won't be appearing on the August primary ballot, meaning he is waging a write-in campaign to win the party's nomination. A victory in August will ensure he appears on the November ballot. Nevertheless, he is confident in his chances of advancing to the general election.

"Since we do have the advantage of there is no other candidate that is running; and having been at this for 14 months, we've been building name recognition for over a year. So we're absolutely confident we'll be able to get that number we need to win the primary," Morgan said.

The state of Michigan ruled Morgan's petitions were invalid due to his use of a P.O. box as his address on the forms filed with the state.

"The state of Michigan chose to invalidate the signatures of more than 1,500 voters based on a technicality that we felt was not at all relevant to the voter signatures themselves," Morgan said.

The state court of appeals recently voted 2-1 to uphold the decision to not allow the petitions.

Morgan said he has yet to hear an explanation of why P.O. boxes aren't allowed on the forms.

"It was a valid mailing address in the county in which I live and where I'm registered to vote," he said.

Even with the setback of not appearing on the primary ballot, Morgan remains optimistic.

"If I have to teach people how to spell my name, it just gives us an opportunity to get out there and touch more voters," Morgan said.

Along with Morgan, Ken Summers - a Democrat running for the 110th State House of Representatives seat - also appeared at Tuesday's event.


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