America had just turned 200, West Michigan native Gerald Ford was President, disco was big, and most Republicans were decent.
That year, Congressman Dick VanderVeen - a Democrat who had won a 1974 special election to replace then-VP Ford in Congress - lost his bid for re-election. Ever since then, Greater Grand Rapids has been represented exclusively by Republicans.
Steve Pestka wants to change that.
Pestka, a longtime fixture on the West Michigan political scene, announced today that he is running for Congress in Michigan's 3rd Congressional District. Pestka has served as a assistant prosecutor, Kent County Commissioner, State Representative, and Circuit Court judge.
Pestka is the second Democratic candidate to enter this exciting race. Trevor Thomas, a rising star in our Party, has worked for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network for the Granholm Administration; he jumped in the race three weeks ago. Either one will make a fine Congressman.
The new 3rd District includes all of Calhoun, Ionia, and Barry counties, a piece of Montcalm County, and most of Kent County. Grand Rapids and Battle Creek are the two big cities in the district.
Pestka has already earned the endorsements of former Congressman Mark Schauer; State Representatives Brandon Dillon, Roy Schmidt, and Kate Segal; and a host of local Party activists and elected officials and Democratic Party activists.
Thomas has landed two big endorsements in recent days: Both Granholm and her lieutenant governor, John Cherry, have endorsed Thomas. In addition, Thomas has already raised nearly $19,000 on his ActBlue page alone - not to mention much more offline.
A recent poll showed Amash leading Pestka in a hypothetical matchup 50-39, but after respondents were given positive statements about each candidate, Pestka pulled within two. When positives and negatives were added to the mix, Pestka actually led 47-43.
Combine that with Amash's 25% approval rating, and you'll see that Amash is in big trouble.
As long as we have a healthy primary contest, and as long as our nominee fights for progressive Democratic values, Amash will have a heck of a fight on his hands!