Bergman defeated Allen in the three-way Republican primary last August. In the weeks that followed the race, however, Allen volunteered to assist Bergman at various events during the General Election, including the rally for then-Vice Presidential candidate Mike PENCE in Traverse City.
“I’ve enjoyed his openness and his team approach to our region,” Allen said of Bergman, who was formally sworn in today as a member of the 115th session of Congress.
Allen was a deputy director within the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs up until last year’s congressional run. Most recently, he’s been running the family’s men’s clothing store, Captain’s Quarters, in Traverse City.
As a former Senator and House member from the region who has now run for Congress twice, Allen said he feels he’s uniquely qualified to “expand and coordinate” Republicans in the 1st District, which is the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Michigan.
The chairs of the congressional district are chosen at the Feb. 10 state convention. While the pick of whoever is the member of congress from that district tends to have a leg-up in these races, it is not automatic.
The current chair, Jesse OSMER, said he plans on running for the post again. Osmer was former-U.S. Rep. Dan BENISHEK‘s district director who ran for the state House last year.
Osmer lists among his public endorsements 13 former and current members of the Legislature and 20 county chairs. Of the 31 county chairs in the geographically massive 1st Congressional district, Osmer lists 20 as endorsing him.
Osmer listed out his team today on Facebook, writing, “We have some big plans, including improving how we communicate with our county chairs (launching a website, delivering reports and holding more open conference calls), increasing fundraising goals (we broke records this past cycle — and intend to do so again), maintaining our current seats and picking up a seat in the 110th District.”
About the challenge, Allen said, “As of a week ago, Rep. Bergman has said he would like his own person in this position. As good Republicans we will work through this.”