“Stupak opponent provides lesson for other candidates”

Every two years, thousands of individuals throw their hats into the ring and decide to run for public office.  A few challengers will win, but, in general, most are political neophytes who can be considered long shots at best on Election Day.

Enter Dr. Dan Benishek, who, as of Sunday, was the only Republican challenger campaigning against the now-infamous Democrat incumbent Rep. Bart Stupak in Michigan’s First District.

Prior to Rep. Stupak’s bait-and-switch vote in favor of health care reform, Benishek was a complete unknown who had little chance of success in November, and his campaign reflected it.

As of Sunday, Benishek’s campaign had only one staffer (his wife) and no campaign website – let alone the ability to take money online.  His campaign’s entire online presence consisted of a Facebook pageThe Daily Caller’s Alex Pappasreports.

Once it became clear that Rep. Stupak was going to support President Obama on health care, Benishek instantly garnered attention and support from around the country, particularly from pro-lifers.

Unfortunately for Benishek, his meager campaign infrastructure was unable to capitalize on the situation and harness the outpouring of dollars during the historic Congressional vote.  In fact, on Sunday night, the RNC had to step in and set-up a PayPal account just so he could capture donations.

Stupak is now going to be a top target of conservatives nationwide, but Benishek isn’t ready to take advantage.  Due to his lack of planning and campaign operation, he’s opened himself up to a primary challenge, as now Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner Dennis Lennox has decided to enter the race. And who’s to say others won’t file to run in the near future?

Benishek’s newfound predicament should be a lesson to current and future candidates on both sides of the aisle.  You may be a long shot as a candidate, but in politics, you have to be prepared to capitalize when the moment presents itself.  For Benishek, the moment may have passed as quickly as it came.

Adam Dahlgren contributed to this report.

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