But McDowell does not seem impressed by the celebrity boost for his opponent. "I don't know what the impact will be," he said of Palin's endorsement. "Probably more from people outside the district, don't you think?"
In a web ad, Benishek says that he hears from the people of the first district that "they want less government in the their lives."
The Republican promises to cut spending, bring reform to Congress and repeal the Democratic health care overhaul.
McDowell, who was elected to the Michigan State Legislature in 2004, said it's too soon to judge many of the provisions in the health care law because they will not be implemented for years. But, he emphasized, the parts that have already gone into effect were a net positive.
"Insurance companies can't drop you when you get sick ... [and] if you have a child born with diabetes or epilepsy, now they will be covered," he said. "Keeping our children on until they are 26 years of age. Helping seniors cover that donut hole for prescription drugs. These are good. And these are what people want."
But, he said, work remains. "I know there is a lot of work to do on this bill," he said. "I know a lot of it probably won't work, needs to be corrected. And I want to be part of that. I want to make this work."
McDowell, who noted that he has been outspent by Benishek and his Republican-leaning allies in television ad buys, said he will win by campaigning harder and bringing a message of collaboration across the partisan divide.
Washington can only accomplish things "by coming together and working together to find common solutions that will bring us together. ... My logo is a bridge," McDowell said, "and a bridge connects people and brings people together. That's what I'm going to do."