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As Libertarian Gary Johnson looks to make an impact in the presidential election in Michigan, he’s getting a little help from a cousin who is running for Congress in the 1st Congressional District.

Diane Bostow, 67, of Gwinn in Marquette County, is running as the Libertarian candidate in the highly competitive race featuring former Michigan Democratic Party chairman Lon Johnson and Republican Jack Bergman, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant general. Ellis Boal of Charlevoix also will be on the ballot as the Green Party’s candidate.

Bostow’s father and Johnson’s mother were siblings, the children of Ukranian immigrants who settled in North Dakota. Bostow said she returned to Michigan two years ago to retire after living in different states for many years.

In the Upper Peninsula, Bostow’s yard signs are reportedly showing up along roads next to signs touting Johnson — a former Republican governor of New Mexico — and his running mate, Bill Weld, a former GOP governor of Massachusetts.

Bostow said she gets a lot of hugs, high-fives and “quiet smiles” when she introduces herself as the Libertarian candidate and Johnson’s first cousin.

“People in the U.P. are natural libertarians, small l libertarians,” Bostow said. “They’re hard-working, frugal and they want to do their own business. And they’re totally disgusted with the two-party system.”

While admitting she has a familial bias, Bostow said Johnson is just the change Washington needs to break the partisan rancor of the Democrats and Republicans.

“That’s not going to change without a breath of fresh air – and I think Gary is that breath of fresh air,” she said.

Kaine issues warning

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine warned supporters on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton’s pathway to victory over Republican Donald Trump is not guaranteed in Michigan, though he likes their chances.

“If you’re asking me how we’re doing, I’m going to tell you ‘We like what we see. I’d rather be us than them,’” Kaine told a crowd of 1,250 supporters during an outdoor speech at the University of Michigan’s Diag. “But, it’s close. It’s close.”

RealClearPolitics.com’s average of recent Michigan polls puts Clinton’s lead over Trump in Michigan at 5.6 percentage points, 45.3 percent to 39.7 percent.

FiveThirtyEight.com’s polling average of the Michigan race, which is calculated differently, pegs Clinton’s lead at 4.9 percentage points, 41.8 percent to Trump’s 36.9 percent, with Libertarian Gary Johnson polling at 7.6 percent of likely voters.

“Even if we see a poll one day that we like, we don’t really take much comfort in it because let’s be honest, it’s a season of surprises,” Kaine said in Ann Arbor. “Polls have been wrong. Pundits have been wrong. Nobody thought the GOP was going to nominate Donald Trump. So it’s been a season of surprises.”

The Clinton campaign knows a thing or two about polls being dead wrong in Michigan.

Surveys before Michigan’s March 8 Democratic presidential primary showed Clinton with double-digit leads over Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist. But after the votes were counted, Sanders eked out a surprise 49.8-48.2 percent victory over Clinton.

Kaine said Tuesday there “could be more twists and turns” between now and Election Day — an uncertainty the U.S. senator from Virginia blamed on money in politics even as the Clinton-Kaine campaign has raised more money than the Trump-Pence ticket.

“We live in a political climate after Citizens United where anybody can spend hundreds of millions of dollars, put ads on TV saying virtually anything, not even tell you who they are or who’s funding their ad,” Kaine said. “And that can change the election.”

A place in POLITICO 50

The whistleblowers who sounded the alarm over Flint’s contaminated water were named this week among POLITICO’s 50 – a list of “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming” politics.

“Scientists Marc Edwards and Mona Hanna-Attisha helped to hold the state accountable for its negligence in creating a health crisis; he uncovered the cause, and she, the effects,” POLITICO wrote in describing the duo’s roles.

“If government exists to protect basic public safety, this duo offered a reminder of how dangerously it can fall short.”

Edwards, a professor of civil engineering at Virginia Tech, did the sampling last summer that identified the presence of high lead levels in the city water. The testing of Dr. Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician, proved the high levels of lead in the blood of Flint children.

The POLITICO list also recognized U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, for her role in brokering a compromise on the inflammatory issue of labeling genetically modified foods. Stabenow, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, opposed voluntary labeling on the grounds that consumers have a right to know what’s in their food.

“In a rare Congress-did-something moment, she reached a compromise with Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Agriculture Committee: GMO labeling would be mandatory across the country, but a company can forgo a written label in favor of a barcode that customers must scan for more information,” POLITICO writes.

Stabenow tweeted that she was honored to be part of the list “with two great Americans, Khizr and Ghazala Khan. Thank you for your courage!” The Khans are the Muslim parents of a U.S. solider killed in Iraq in 2004 and who publicly criticized Donald Trump for his plan to ban Muslim immigrants.

Contributors: Chad Livengood and Melissa Nann Burke

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