There has been a great deal of discussion in Michigan’s mammoth 1st Congressional District about whether Republican candidate Jack “You’re gonna hafta roll the dice with me” Bergman is a long-time resident of the district or if he is, in fact, a resident of Louisiana. Here’s what I wrote when I visited this race last month:
In 2013, he was appointed to the Louisiana Military Advisory Council, a four-year position that he retains today. He’s described as being from Baton Rouge on the Council’s Board membership list. When he was first introduced as a new member, he told his colleagues on the LMAC, “Good morning, everybody. I’m Jack Bergman, proud resident of St. Francisville. I retired from the Marine Corps in 2009 and I’m excited.”
He also listed his address as a P.O. Box in St. Francisville, Louisiana on political contributions to a Democratic New Orleans City Council candidate Jackie Clarkson and to a PAC in Louisiana.
Bergman has talked publicly about being a “snowbird” who visits Michigan only during the warm summer months.
It has also recently come to light that Bergman was actually on a school board in Louisiana and had attended meetings as recently as last spring. He last attended a meeting of the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy as recently as April and was still listed as a board member in the July minutes. During a debate in Marquette last week, Bergman made a rare appearance (he tends to skip debates rather than answer voters’ questions) and confirmed that he was, indeed, on a school board in Louisiana (the pertinent section begins at 46:19):
LON JOHNSON: I believe that how you campaign is how you will govern and that openness we have not seen from Jack Bergman.
On June 29th, every candidate – Diane had to do it, Jack had to do it, I had to do it, Tom Casperson, Jason Allen – we all had to put out and fill out an ethics disclosure report. And on that report we had to list our assets, our incomes, our debts. And also any previou positions held. And Jack, on June 29th, withheld two important positions. One was a four-year appointment he received from the governor of Louisiana. Didn’t list that on June 29th. Another one was a school board membership that he holds in New Orleans that he attended up until April. So, the question is why did he do this? Why didn’t he tell the truth on his ethics report?
Because he was running against two lifetime residents of the 1st Congressional District. The truth would get in the way of the narrative of him being a straight-talking marine. That’s not straight-talking and that’s not even the truth.
JACK BERGMAN: Anyone know what an SF278 is? … The point is, the point is I filled out that form. I filled it out. With help. Legal advice. And guess what? We didn’t get it right. So, when it was called to my attention, whenever it was, I immediately filed an amended form. That’s why they have the amended process. So, I filled it out. There was no secret.
Bottom line, I resigned from the school board after winning the primary because it was going to be a conflict of interest assuming I win the general election so I was gonna have to leave. But the point is, if someone attacks me on education. Or attacks any of you who believe that educating our students is the right thing to do for our country – remember one of the pillars on the front end here? Education? If you believe that we should not all pitch in to make sure our 18 year-olds are as best as possible going the next step then we got a problem.
I believe in education and that’s why I was on that school board. And, yes, it was, and the school still sits, in Louisiana.
In addition to lying on his ethics disclosure until he was busted for doing so and in addition to his inaccurate characterization of himself as a resident of the 1st Congressional District, Bergman also attempted to use an article printed on Tuesday in The Alpena News about the of stealing yard signs to smear Lon Johnson when, in fact, this childish act was committed by another Democrat. The paper, which neglected to get a statement from Johnson before running the article, printed Johnson’s response to the ludicrous allegations on the front page of the newspaper on Wednesday this week.
There’s no question that this is a tight race. However, after trailing Bergman since he entered the race last spring, Johnson now has a narrow 1-point lead according to the latest polls. More importantly, he is now up over Bergman by 16 points with voters 65 years of age or older, a dramatic shift from previous polling and a clear sign that Bergman’s plans to privatize Social Security and Medicare are damaging his support. Johnson also outraised Bergman during the last quarter $455,118 to $383,924. $83,000 of Bergman’s haul was actually his own money.
For more information on Lon Johnson and make a contribution to support his campaign to flip this seat blue, visit LonJohnson.com.