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Holland pastor challenges Bill Huizenga for Congress

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jul 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-21 17:01:14-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — In a first-time run for office, Democratic Reverend Bryan Berghoef is vying to unseat Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, in Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District.

Berghoef, 44, currently serves at Holland United Church of Christ.

According to the Holland address provided in his Federal Election Commission filing, Berghoef lives in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. The Constitution does not require that a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives live in the district for which they are running, only that they live in the same state.

A public campaign launch will be held at Brew Merchant in Holland on Monday evening.

Berghoef and his wife Christy have three children. Their family previously lived in Traverse City and Washington, D.C., according to Holland United Church of Christ.

The pastor has been active in protests against gun violence and President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Courtesy Bryan Berghoef Twitter

“My faith compels me to take action when I see my neighbors hurting,” Berghoef said in a press release. “When the marginalized are ignored and mistreated, and when God’s creation is under siege.”

Berghoef grew up in Coopersville and Sparta. He graduated from the University of Michigan and Calvin Theological Seminary. In 2012, Berghoef wrote a book called “Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God.” He is also featured on the weekly podcast “Pub Theology Live.”

Berghoef has been endorsed by Democrat Rob Davidson, the emergency room doctor who unsuccessfully challenged Huizenga in 2018.

“The demographics are shifting, and our campaign is going to mobilize younger voters and people who have been sitting on the sidelines,” Berghoef said in the release. “We are going to build on what Dr. Rob Davidson did in 2018.”

It’s only been nine months since Huizenga won reelection for his fourth term in Congress. According to Huizenga for Congress Campaign Chair Jim Barry, the congressman is focusing on his legislative duties. Barry issued the following statement to FOX 17:

“There’s a long time before we need to be talking about campaigns. The Democrats need to get past their primary next year and decide who their candidate is. Right now, Bill has a job to do. He’s focused on strengthening the economy, improving border security, protecting life, and making West Michigan an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

According to the release, Berghoef has vowed to not accept any PAC money.

“The money in politics has gotten out of control,” Berghoef said in the release. “When we allow corporations to give unlimited donations, our elections are bought and our legislation is designed and paid for by lobbyists. I won’t accept a penny from corporate lobbyists.”

Berghoef is the first and only Democrat so far to enter the race for Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District.