Connie Saltonstall (D), a candidate for Representative Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) seat in Congress, announced today that she is withdrawing from the Democratic primary for the seat. Saltonstall is the Commissioner of Charlevoix County, Michigan, and had first announced in March that she would challenge Stupak in the primary because of his positions on abortion in the health care reform package. Nearly two weeks after Stupak announced his retirement in April, Michigan State Representative Gary McDowell (D) announced his candidacy for the seat, which represents the 1st Congressional District of Michigan. In a statement, Saltonstall said “I am forced to do this because it has become apparent to my campaign that the leadership of the Michigan Democratic Party has preemptively anointed Gary McDowell as their Democratic candidate. They are replacing Bart Stupak with another Upper Peninsula, Anti-Choice, Anti- Women’s healthcare rights candidate. From past experience I realize that with the Michigan Democratic Party actively opposing me, I will not be able to raise the money necessary to conduct a winning campaign. I am not the only candidate that has been the target of this kind of manipulation. I hope that in the future the Party will reject this interference and insist on an open primary allowing voters to choose the candidate who represents their values.” According to the Detroit News, a third Democratic candidate for the seat is former state Representative Matt Gillard. Five Republicans are also running for their party’s nomination for the seat. Stupak’s restrictive anti-abortion amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 2962) played a key roll in stalling passage of healthcare reform. Saltonstall decided to run against Stupak because his positions on abortion in the healthcare bill “crossed the line.” The restrictive anti-abortion Stupak/Pitts amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) was not included in the final health reform package, but would have banned abortion coverage for women in both the public option and private insurance. This amendment would have banned abortion coverage even if women were to pay for it with their own money in the public option or through private plans in the insurance exchange.