After surviving a primary challenge from outspoken conservative Jack Hoogendyk, Congressman Fred Upton looked invincible. But new reports from his southwest Michigan district point to a tougher race than many expected for Rep. Upton.

What happened?

Well for starters, his opponent Mike O’Brien is qualified. A Marine Corps veteran, former farmer and businessman, O’Brien has just the kind of outsider resume many voters are looking for in their elected officials.

Congressman Upton hasn’t done himself any favors with his appalling priorities over his time in Congress – priorities that benefit himself and the wealthy special interests who finance his campaign rather than his constituents.

Upton voted to end Medicare as we know it. The Paul Ryan budget plan he voted for would replace Medicare with a voucher program that would cost Michigan seniors an additional $6,400 every year. The plan also included even deeper cuts to Medicare and Medicaid than were initially revealed by Congressman Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee.

He also is one of the House Republicans who voted no to giving our troops, even those in harm’s way, a pay raise. At the same time, he’s voted three times for pay raises for himself and other Washington politicians.

Regardless of voters’ ideological concerns, the most important qualification for a member of Congress is integrity, and Michiganders aren’t stupid. Congressman Upton should immediately reassess his priorities – or he’ll find himself with plenty of free time in January.

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