Advance Notice: Briefs

Upton begins airing ad in new district, possibly setting up primary with Huizenga, Carra

By: - February 23, 2022 6:56 am

Rep. Fred Upton | Detroit Chamber photo

The campaign of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) began airing TV ads in Michigan’s new 4th Congressional District on Wednesday, signaling that he may be leaning towards running for reelection in the 2022 midterms.

Should he decide to run in the new Southwest Michigan district, it would set up a primary with U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) and state Rep. Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers), who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, June 3, 2019 | Nick Manes

Upton, a member of Congress since 1987, and Huizenga, who has been in Congress since 2011, were drawn into the same district as one another by Michigan’s independent redistricting commission. Upton currently represents the old 6th District and Huizenga is in the 2nd District.

“It’s been my honor to serve the people of West Michigan as their common sense conservative voice in Congress,” Upton said in a statement. “This ad focuses on my record and begins a conversation with the voters I’m so proud to serve. I’ll never stop giving my best effort to the people of West Michigan and I’ll never be a rubber stamp for anyone from outside our community.  That’s because I always put our state, nation and constitution first.”

Upton’s campaign is spending more than $200,000 to air the ad for a week in a move that the campaign said “begins [a] conversation with West Michigan voters.”

Upton raised $1.64 million in 2021 and reported that his campaign has $1.47 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31.

Huizenga’s campaign raised $1.18 million last year and reported having $1.14 million cash on hand.

Both Upton and Huizenga raised more than the $358,867 Carra’s campaign received in 2021. Carra’s campaign had $203,789 cash on hand as of the end of the year.

Trump has made Upton a target after the congressman voted to impeach the former president in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Huizenga voted against impeaching Trump. He did not support objections to Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden, but more than 120 Republican lawmakers did, including U.S. Reps. Lisa McClain (R-Brice Twp.), Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) and Tim Walberg (R-Tipton).

Rep. Steve Carra

Carra, who has received Trump’s endorsement, has backed baseless claims that the election was stolen, despite the claims being repeatedly debunked, including by the Republican-controlled state Senate Oversight Committee. He introduced a bill for an Arizona-style so-called “forensic audit” of the 2020 election that Trump lost to President Biden defeated by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan.

The freshman House member also attended a pro-Trump protest in Lansing on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that left five dead and dozens of police officers injured. 

“If you want a rubber stamp as your congressman, I’m the wrong guy,” Upton said in the ad. “But if you want someone committed to solving problems, putting policy over politics, then I’m asking for your support. I’m Fred Upton, and I approve this message because I’ll always fight for all of us.”


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Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a reporting intern with the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.