Voters in Michigan's 12th Congressional District might see a member of the Socialist Equality Party on their ballots this November.
Niles Niemuth, who last ran as the Socialist candidate for Vice President in the 2016 presidential election, is petitioning to get on the ballot for this seat in the House of Representatives.
Democratic incumbent Debbie Dingell has held the congressional seat since 2015. She is running against Republican candidate Jeff Jones for the seat.
The 12th district is primarily made up of parts of Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
Niemuth decided to run for the seat last month, citing positive responses to Socialist candidates in recent California elections as a motivator for his campaign. He says these elections showed voters “looking for an alternative to the Democratic Party and to the Republicans.”
“We've been all over the district,” Niemuth says. “We've been in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, down river in Trenton and elsewhere, and everywhere we've gone people have been very excited to see that there is finally going to be another option.”
Some of the main issues his campaign hopes to focus on include opposing the wars in the Middle East, protecting immigrants and abolishing ICE, fighting social inequality, and preventing internet censorship.
“Ultimately, as Socialists, we believe that the working class should be in control,” Niemuth says.
He also cited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist who defeated Democratic incumbent Joe Corwley in New York’s 14th congressional primary last week. He says it is encouraging to see a growing number of people interested in Socialist ideas, though he emphasizes the differences between her party and his own.
“[Ocasio-Cortez] is a Democrat, she supports the Democratic Party, and her politics are 100 miles from our politics. We are fighting for a political perspective that is independent of the Democratic Party.”
Niemuth says his campaign has already collected three-thousand signatures—the minimum number required to get a third party candidate on the ballot. He will continue collecting signatures until July 19th, the deadline to submit these signatures.