Debbie Dingell, wife of U.S. Rep. John Dingell — who announced his retirement on Monday — is considered by many to be the frontrunner in a race for his congressional seat considered unwinnable for Republicans.
Dingell, 60, plans to announce her candidacy Friday and has been in conversations with Democratic political powerhouses about running for her husband’s seat in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District.
“She would be the prohibitive favorite in the race,” said political consultant T.J. Bucholz. “There are plenty of serving congressmen and women in this country who bring less to the table than Debbie Dingell does right now.”
Other political analysts say Debbie Dingell is not necessarily a shoo-in.
“Though Debbie Dingell obviously has an incredible organizational base of support, she’s also made a lot of enemies,” said Bill Ballenger, associate editor of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter. “The idea that she’s going to be anointed, I tend to doubt that.”
The former president of the General Motors Foundation chair of the manufacturing Initiative of the American Automotive Policy Council said she wouldn’t discuss her election plans Monday after the announcement of her husband's retirement .
“Today, it’s all about him,” she said about her husband.
Asked Monday who might be his successor, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history brought up his wife.
“If she runs — the lovely Deborah — I will vote for her,” he said.
"She’s been my guide, my counsel, my friend and my closest adviser," he said in a recent Detroit News article.
Debbie Dingell is a longtime Michigan representative on the Democratic National Committee and serves as the chairwoman of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.
Candidates for Congress must submit at least 1,000 petition signatures by April 22 to make the ballot for the Aug. 5 primary.
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