Democrats lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives in 2010, and now they're fiercely targeting GOP members in key swing districts.
Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., won in 2010 after Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak retired rather than face the voters after providing the final boost for the Obama health-care takeover. Benishek claimed the seat with a double-digit win over longtime Democratic state lawmaker Gary McDowell. But McDowell is back, and he's got several well-funded special interests helping him out.
Benishek is still confident of victory.
"We're going to win," Benishek told WND's Greg Corombos. "It's a close race. There's a lot of outside groups getting involved. They want this seat back. They think they own it. I'm not a career politician. I'm a doctor and I'm just trying to do this to make sure that our children have an opportunity for the same opportunities we had growing up."
Benishek said the most pressing needs in Washington are to strip away burdensome regulation, bring certainty to the tax code and stop the rising cost of health care, which he said is only getting worse because of the Obama health-care law.
He also said there is a world of difference between him and McDowell.
"It's tough for businesses to flourish. Frankly, the No. 1 issue to me is the economy and jobs," Benishek said. "Gary McDowell was part of the (former Gov. Jennifer) Granholm administration. He was in the state legislature. He voted for the Granholm stimulus. He voted for the Michigan business tax, which was a very onerous tax on business and drove companies into bankruptcy and out of the state. He doesn't really have a lot of ideas, and his allies are just throwing a lot of negative campaign ads at me, and we've had to respond. You know, it's been a brutal battle."
Benishek and the new Republican House majority vowed to crack down on spending and repeal the Obama health takeover. Neither has been accomplished, but Benishek said the GOP still has a strong record to run on and will be in position to do big things if the election results turn out well for them.
"We put a stop to Mr. Obama's agenda," he said. "In the first two years of the Obama administration, they passed a trillion-dollar stimulus. They passed the health care law. Frankly, it allowed them to spend more the last two years. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to peel back the spending because we don't have the Senate of the White House. This is our opportunity to get those two houses and peel back some of the spending and ridiculous spending that this administration is putting forward."
Benishek also blasted Obama for a lack of leadership, saying he's never been invited to meet with the president on anything and neither have most Republicans or even the vast majority of Democrats.
The congressman also believes Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a chance to carry Michigan.
"Everywhere I go, people say the same thing – that they think the president's policies have failed," said Benishek. "I haven't spoken to anyone that voted for Mr. McCain that's going to vote for Mr. Obama, but I know a lot of people that voted for Mr. Obama that say they're going to vote for Mr. Romney."