A few hundred supporters gathered on the Diag last night to rally for Dr. Rob Steele, the Republican who is challenging Democratic United States Rep. John Dingell to represent the 15th congressional district.
Steele, accompanied by other prominent state Republicans, spoke out against the current political landscape of Washington and what he described as the threat posed to youths across the country. Steele’s opponent is the longest-serving member of Congress, having occupied an office in Washington for 55 years.
Though the latest poll on the race published by the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV shows Dingell leading Steele by about a 20-percent margin, that pales in comparison to the 45 percent margin the Congressman won by in 2008. Another poll released on Oct. 8 had Steele ahead by 4 points, but Dingell staffers criticized the poll, calling it partisan.
At the rally, Thayrone X, a local AM talk-radio host, fired up the crowd by speaking out against the Democrats.
“If it’s got a ‘D’ after its name, drive a stake through the heart of it,” Thayrone X said to the crowd.
Thayrone X spoke about issues like closing the border to Mexico, improving the economy and reforming the country’s health care.
Wendy Day, founder of Common Sense in Government told the crowd “You have to believe in common sense to vote for Dr. Steele.” Common Sense in Government identifies as a non-partisan organization and according to its website, Day helped organize the first Tea Party rally in Lansing in February last year.
“We cannot change Washington unless we change the people that are there,” Day said.
Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R–Rochester) said he was surprised by the strong turnout and hoped to “take back our country.”
Michael Bouchard, Oakland County sheriff and former Republican candidate for governor, echoed Bishop’s sentiments, saying that it was time for someone to replace Dingell.
“If you can’t get it done in 55 years, (it’s) time to go home,” Bouchard said.
Greeted by loud cheers of support from the crowd, Steele took the stage and began to outline his qualifications for the position and the policies he would push for if elected.
“I’m not a politician,” he said.
Steele said he’s the best candidate to bring accountability to Washington, adding “we need to stop the out of control spending.”
Steele told the crowd that he’s grown frustrated with Dingell during the congressman’s tenure in Washington.
“We need representatives that will represent,” Steele said. “We need transparency.”
Steele added that youth stand to suffer the greatest losses from a Congress that doesn’t represent its constituents.
“The young people on this campus are in the greatest danger,” he said.
In an interview following the event, Steele said he was disappointed in the student turnout for the event but hopes that students will still come out and vote on Tuesday.
“We hope the students participate in the process,” he said. “It’s always disappointing when they’re not here learning about what’s going on. The spending that is killing the students is what they need to wake up to.”
Steele added that his campaign is focused on curbing the cost of higher education for students.
“The costs are absolutely out of control, and unfortunately one of the main reasons the costs are out of control is the federal government,” he said. “It would be better for them to just cut down to the price at cost.”