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Bonior Joins Michigan Gov. Race

May 21, 2001

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Rep. David Bonior, the House’s second-ranking Democrat, filed paperwork Monday to join Michigan’s 2002 governor’s race and said he has ruled out running for re-election to Congress.

Bonior said he would decide this fall whether to step down as minority whip or serve in the position until the end of his term in December 2002.

Michigan is losing a congressional seat next year, and Bonior’s suburban Detroit district may be eliminated or drastically changed when the Republican-controlled state Legislature redraws district lines.

``Republicans have made the decision to shut the door on my career in Congress,″ Bonior said Monday. ``They are going to eliminate my district and we are going to open another door, and that’s the governor’s door.″

In early polls, Bonior has come in third behind the other major Democratic candidates, state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm and former Gov. James Blanchard.

Bonior, 55, was first elected to Congress in 1978 and has withstood numerous GOP attempts to unseat him. He was one of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s primary critics after Republicans won control of the House in the 1994 election.

State Sens. Alma Wheeler Smith and Gary Peters also plan to seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the August primary. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus is expected to get into the race, and state Sen. John Schwarz and retired auto executive Ed Hamilton have filed the paperwork to run for governor.

Republican Gov. John Engler cannot run again because of term limits.

Update hourly