Gary McDowell

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Gary McDowell
Gary McDowell.jpg
Candidate for
U.S. House, Michigan, District 1
Prior offices
Michigan State House of Representatives
Place of birthRudyard, MI
Campaign website
Gary McDowell campaign logo
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Gary McDowell was a 2012 Democratic candidate who sought election to the U.S. House to represent the 1st Congressional District of Michigan. Previously, he was a Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives, representing District 107 from 2005 to January 1, 2011.


McDowell was born on a farm in Rudyard, Michigan, and is the oldest of ten children. He graduated from Rudyard High School in 1970 and attended Lake Superior State College.


McDowell's career hightlights are listed below.[1]

  • United Parcel Service (UPS), (1970-2003)
  • McDowell Hay, Incorporated; Former Treasurer
  • Former Emergency Medical Technician for Rudyard Township
  • Volunteer Firefighter, Rudyard Township

Previous offices held

The following are public offices previously held by McDowell.[2]

  • McDowell was elected to the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners in 1981. He served there until 2002 and became the chairman in 1998.
  • He also served on the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation Board from 1987 until 2004, when he was elected to his first term in the Michigan House.
  • He was a Michigan State Representative from 2004 to 2010.

Committee Assignments, 2009-2010

  • Appropriations
    • Community Health subcommittee (Chair)
    • Agriculture subcommittee (Vice Chair)
    • Higher Education.



See also: Michigan's 1st Congressional District elections, 2012

McDowell was defeated by incumbent Dan Benishek.[3] McDowell ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent Michigan's 1st District. After Derek Bailey withdrew from the race in late April, McDowell ran unopposed in the August 7 primary. He faced Republican incumbent Dan Benishek, Emily Salvette (L) and Ellis Boal (G) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[4]

U.S. House, Michigan District 1 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Gary McDowell 47.6% 165,179
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDan Benishek Incumbent 48.1% 167,060
     Libertarian Emily Salvette 3.1% 10,630
     Green Ellis Boal 1.2% 4,168
Total Votes 347,037
Source: Michigan Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


Gary McDowell vs. Dan Benishek

Gary McDowell vs. Dan Benishek
Poll Gary McDowell Dan BenishekUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
(June 25, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


McDowell released the campaign ad below on September 13, 2012. It targets his Republican opponent, Dan Benishek's position on Medicare.[5]

Gary McDowell, "Send a Message"[6]

Campaign issues

The following are several issues lighted on McDowell's campaign website.[7]

  • Eliminating Wasteful Spending and Making Government More Accountable

Excerpt: "A fiscal conservative, Gary voted to cut his own pay and end lifetime health care for lawmakers. He will push for a pay cut for Members of Congress and freeze their pay entirely until there is a responsibly balanced budget."

  • Getting Michigan Back to Work

Excerpt: "Gary supports tax credits for small businesses that create new jobs here in Michigan and the U.S. Gary will provide real relief to small businesses by working to reduce unfair and unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that hinders job growth."

  • Protecting Social Security & Medicare

Excerpt: "Gary opposes any effort toward Social Security privatization."

  • Defending our Great Lakes

Excerpt: "Gary has always been a defender of our Great Lakes. In Lansing, he led the fight to end drilling on the Great Lakes and stop the bottling and selling of our waters for profit."

  • Family Farms & Agriculture

Excerpt: "Farmers do not want to be paid by the government to farm. That’s why instead Gary supports protections for farmers in the case of catastrophic losses and a viable crop insurance program to provide an adequate safety net."

  • Gun Rights

Excerpt: "Gary is a strong supporter and advocate for the 2nd Amendment rights of every individual."

  • Healthcare

Excerpt: "Gary strongly supports Medicare and will work to keep the program strong for years to come. He will oppose cuts to beneficiaries."

  • Education

Excerpt: "Gary believes the best education occurs when the local community provides it, not when it is mandated by a federal bureaucracy. Local families, communities and schools should be allowed to educate children without interference by the federal government."

  • Securing our Borders

Excerpt: "Gary believes we need to confront this problem on two fronts. First and foremost, we need to secure the border. Secondly, the federal government has got to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. It’s time we held these corporations accountable."


McDowell was not eligible for re-election under Michigan's term limits.


On November 4, 2008, Gary McDowell ran for District 107 of the Michigan House of Representatives, beating Alex Strobehn.[8]

Gary McDowell raised $93,916 for his campaign.[9]

Michigan House of Representatives, District 107
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Gary McDowell (D) 27,304
Alex Strobehn (R) 14,500

Campaign donors


Above is a breakdown of funds for the 2012 election, according to source.

McDowell lost the United States House of Representatives election in 2012. During that election cycle, McDowell's campaign committee raised a total of $1,497,052 and spent $1,487,186.[10]


In 2008 Gary McDowell collected $93,916 in donations.[11]

His five largest contributors in 2008 were:

Donor Amount
Michigan Association of Health Plans $5,700
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $5,000
Michigan Health & Hospital Association $5,000
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan $4,300
UPS $3,500

Voting record

Key votes of 2009-2010

  • Click below to see how this representative voted.
  • Super Speedway, Lawmakers voting on whether TO EXTEND A SPECIAL TAX PERK for a super speedway.
  • Driver Responsibility Fees, Lawmakers voting on whether TO IMPOSE 'driver responsibility fees.'
  • Crony Capitalism, Lawmakers voting on whether TO RESTRICT THE RIGHT of shareholders to sell their own stock.
  • Right to Work, Lawmakers voting on an amendment SUPPORTING RIGHT-TO-WORK zones.
  • Golf Carts, Lawmakers voting on whether TO SUBSIDIZE the production of electric vehicle batteries.
  • Home Court Disadvantage, Lawmakers voting on whether TO GIVE MORE TAXING POWER to local government in Kalamazoo so it can finance a taxpayer-subsidized sports arena.
  • Fire Safe Cigarettes, Lawmakers voting on whether TO BAN the sale of cigarettes that are not "fire safe."
  • Balancing Act, Lawmakers voting on a budget to CUT REVENUE SHARING PAYMENTS to local governments as a way to balance the state budget without raising taxes.
  • Balancing Act 2, Lawmakers voting on a cut of less than 3 percent to K-12 school aid payments so as to balance the state budget without tax increases.
  • A Good Tax Gone Bad?, Lawmakers voting on the Michigan Business Tax.
  • It’s From the Children, Lawmakers voting on whether to RAID $90 MILLION from the Michigan Higher Education Student Loan Authority.
  • Left Behind, Lawmakers voting on whether TO FINANCE "No Worker Left Behind" with a 59.9 percent increase in general fund spending in the 2009 DELEG budget.
  • First Class Schools, Lawmakers voting on whether to keep Detroit Public Schools' "first class" status even though the district no longer meets the population standard.
  • Politically Correct Capitalism, Lawmakers voting on whether to INCREASE SUBSIDIES for plug-in traction battery packs used in electric cars.
  • Politically Correct Capitalism 2, Lawmakers voting on whether to GIVE SUBSIDIES for Michigan film production.
  • Politically Correct Capitalism 3, Lawmakers voting on whether to INCREASE ELECTRIC CAR SUBSIDIES for a subsidiary of a Korean battery company.
  • Secret Ballot, Lawmakers voting on whether to keep a SECRET BALLOT for union elections.
  • Property Taxes Assaulted Again, Lawmakers voting on whether to allow public schools to EXPAND THE USE OF SINKING FUND property tax spending.
  • Sneak Attack, Lawmakers voting on whether to allow public schools to EXPAND THE USE OF SINKING FUND property tax spending.
  • Grapes of Wrath, Lawmakers voting on whether TO BAN home shipment of beer and wine to Michigan consumers.
  • Subsidize Manufacture of Electric Cars, Lawmakers voting on whether to authorize a refundable Michigan Business Tax credit for makers of plug-in traction battery packs used in electric cars.
  • Authorize Special Tax Breaks for Ethanol Gas Stations, Lawmakers voting on whether to authorize a non-refundable Michigan Business Tax credit equal to 30 percent of the costs incurred by a gas station to convert existing pumps and tanks, or acquire new ones that deliver E85 ethanol or biodiesel fuel.

More voting record details


McDowell is married to his wife, Carrie, and has three children.[12] They live in Rudyard, Michigan. He is a Presbyterian.

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See also

External links