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Dingell reelected in 15th District, soon to become longest serving member of House

BY BENJAMIN S. CHASE
Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 4, 2008

Democrat John Dingell, the second longest-serving member in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives, retained his seat in Michigan's 15th Congressional District yesterday, receiving 70 percent of the vote and defeating Republican Jack Lynch with 96 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning.

Dingell, who has served as the district's representative since 1955, is the Dean of the House of Representatives, a title bestowed upon the longest-serving current member of the House.

The 15th Congressional District has voted a member of the Dingell family into office in every election since 1932, the second after the creation of the district in 1930. Dingell was preceded by his father, John Dingell Sr., who served from 1932 until his death in 1955. His son took over after a special election and has since served 27 consecutive full terms in office.

Lynch’s campaign was an uphill struggle, with the candidate facing off against a popular Democratic incumbent in a district that consistently votes Democratic. Dingell, who ran unopposed in 2006, has enjoyed the support of more than 80 percent of his constituency in the previous elections.

Lynch, an Ypsilanti resident, ran as a Republican on a conservative platform opposing abortion, gun control, gay marriage, big government and pork-barrel spending. He has also supported deregulation of the financial industry and job creation through tax cuts and small business incentives.

An alum of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Lynch spent 33 years in the private sector before becoming a member of the Washtenaw County Republican Executive Committee.

Dingell, 82, ran on a campaign platform of withdrawing American troops from Iraq. He has opposed the war from the beginning, voting against the resolution to go to war in October 2002. The incumbent has also promised to help promote green technology, uphold reproductive rights and rebuild Michigan's economy.

Dingell is the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and a supporter of the financial bailout package. Lynch was opposed to the passage of the bill.

Dingell would officially become the longest-serving member in the House of Representatives on Feb. 14, 2009, when he surpasses the previous record held by former Rep. Jamie Whitten (R–Miss.).