MARQUETTE - Charelvoix Democrat Connie Saltonstall announced Monday she is withdrawing from the race to fill the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee.
Saltonstall had visited the Upper Peninsula in recent weeks to meet voters and gauge support. She said she is withdrawing from the race because the Democrats in the U.P. and state party leadership are backing Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, in the race.
"I am forced to do this because it has become apparent to my campaign that the leadership of the Michigan Democratic Party has preemptively anointed Gary McDowell as their Democratic candidate," Saltonstall said in a news release. "They are replacing Bart Stupak with another Upper Peninsula, anti-choice, anti-women's healthcare rights candidate."
Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer told The Associated Press Saltonstall has been a great activist and local party leader.
Other Democrats in the race besides McDowell include former state Rep. Matt Gillard of Alpena. The list of Republicans includes state Sen. Jason Allen of Alanson, Dan Benishek of Iron River, Linda Goldthorpe of Helmer, Don Hooper of Iron River and Tom Stillings of Antrim County's Torch Lake Township.
"From past experience I realize that with the Michigan Democratic Party actively opposing me, I will not be able to raise the money necessary to conduct a winning campaign," Saltonstall said.
"I am not the only candidate that has been the target of this kind of manipulation," Saltonstall said. "I hope that in the future the Party will reject this interference and insist on an open primary allowing voters to choose the candidate who represents their values."
Saltonstall thanked her supporters and said she challenged Stupak because he was threatening to take down the healthcare bill. His amendment threatened access for women to get health insurance even with private funds, Saltonstall said.
"While I think Gary MacDowell is a very nice person, I cannot support his anti-choice politics, and I cannot support a party that endorses candidates who vote to restrict women's legal rights and access to healthcare," Saltonstall said.
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