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Running for First: Cannon back to campaign after 25 days in hospital

Jerry Cannon has announced his bid for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District. Courtesy photo.
Jerry Cannon has announced his bid for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District. Courtesy photo.

Former Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon has some ground to make up on the campaign trail in northern Michigan’s hotly contested First Congressional District. In December, Cannon spent more than three weeks recuperating in a Traverse City hospital, after his car slid off an icy road near his home in Fife Lake.

Cannon is only now getting back to his campaign.

This is the second time the Democrat has run in the First Congressional District. Cannon lost in 2014 to incumbent Rep. Dan Benishek.

“We’re trying to build on the success that we achieved in 2014,” Cannon says.

He says the political winds are blowing in his favor this election cycle.

“There’s a lot of disenchantment with the establishment and people who are career politicians,” Cannon, a Democrat, told IPR News Radio in an interview. “And that’s not me. I’m a career public servant. I’m not an insider. I’m not connected. I’m not big money.”

Cannon, who is a retired U.S. Army general, says the insurgent presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are evidence that people are looking for leaders from outside the mainstream political system.

Cannon received 45 percent of the vote in the 2014 general election.

But he will first have to fend off a Democratic challenger — Lon Johnson, who is the former chairperson of the Michigan Democratic Party. Johnson raised $625,723 for his campaign in 2015. Jerry Cannon raised $25,885.

“Money is not the most important thing,” Cannon says. “And I’m not anti-establishment and I’m certainly not anti-money. I know that you have got to have money to run a campaign, and we will have more than enough money to run our campaign.”

Cannon plans to run his 2016 campaign differently from 2014.

“You’ve got to be out and about with people, talking to people,” Cannon says. “I didn’t do this the last time. I listened to all these experts [who said] ‘it’s all about money. We’re going to win this on television.’ And it didn’t work out.”

Cannon says his campaign focus is on the economy and jobs, public education and the environment.