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Published: Monday, 10/25/2004

House race in Mich. like David-Goliath

BY GEORGE J. TANBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The race between U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, the most senior member of the House of Representatives, and political neophyte Dawn Reamer for the 15th District seat is, as Ms. Reamer put it, "a David and Goliath race."

Mr. Dingell (D., Dearborn), 78, is one of the country's most powerful politicians, and he has shaken the hand of every president since Dwight Eisenhower.

Ms. Reamer, a 29-year-old Huron Township attorney, has run for a county commission seat but has never held an elected office. The Republican has, essentially, conceded the race, she admits, because she is a one-person campaign who has done little campaigning.

"Unfortunately, because it is a [lopsided] race, I haven't been able to raise a lot of funds," Ms. Reamer said.

Her reasons for running, she said, are twofold: "I want to get my name out, and I want to provide more incentive for conservatives to come to the polls to vote for President Bush."

Mr. Dingell, in his 25th race, has been spending much of his time in Michigan campaigning with Democratic candidates from his district, hoping to get more of them elected to the Republican-dominated state legislature.

Despite his opponent's inexperience, he said he has seen too many unpredictable things over the years to take any race lightly.

"Every race is different," he said. "And you treat them as the politics requires. But you treat every one of them seriously. I've seen some very smart people not take races seriously, and they wound up out of a job. I don't propose to join that company."

Mr. Dingell has been a vocal opponent of President Bush and his agenda.

"We need to get rid of some of the mischief we have seen in this administration. There have been attacks on Medicare and Social Security," he said.

While in Michigan, Mr. Dingell has also been campaigning for the Kerry-Edwards ticket, calling John Kerry a personal friend.

A member of the house Energy and Commerce Committee, which he used to chair, Mr. Dingell said he will continue his efforts on behalf of seniors for a stronger prescription drug program and to maintain Medicare and Social Security.

Mr. Dingell, an ardent outdoorsman and environmentalist, said that one of his proudest successes in recent years was the creation of the Detroit River Wildlife Refuge, an effort he helped organize.

Ms. Reamer, who began working on political campaigns when she was 9, said she would work to create more fiscal responsibility in government and tighten immigration requirements for the sake of national security.

"We don't know who is coming into our country and are not doing a good job keeping track of a lot of people here on student visas," she said.

She also believes the state needs more funding for federally mandated education programs and for its dilapidated roads.

Of her opponent, Ms. Reamer said, "I think he's done a good job, but I disagree with him on a number of issues. I'm a social conservative, but more moderate with regard to other issues."

Contact George Tanber at: gtanber@theblade.com or 734-241-3610.



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