Primary 2018: 8th Congressional District up for grabs

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The stage is now set in the Michigan 8th Congressional District for a major showdown.

Democrat Elissa Slotkin appears to be heading to a win over Chris Smith in the Democratic Primary election. With 60 percent of the vote counted, Slotkin has a 74 percent to 26 percent lead.

That sets her up to face incumbent Republican congressman Mike Bishop.

Bishop outpaced challenger Lokesh Kumar in the Republican Primary by 10-to-1 margin.

What makes the Bishop-Slotkin race so interesting is that the Democratic Party targeted the 8th Congressional early on and Slotkin has campaigned hard to gain momentum.

The seat has been Republican held since Mike Rogers was in office before Bishop.

But Democrats claim cracks are showing in the armor and Bishop, if one believes pollsters, is showing vulnerability.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report last month moved the race in the 8th District from “leans Republican” to a toss-up.  

Slotkin’s fundraising machine has been running in overdrive.  In the second quarter of the year she topped $1.1 million for the period and has nearly $2.25 million in cash.  That far outpaces Bishop’s $1.68 million campaign chest.

Slotkin’s background shows broad experince in foreign service, having served with distinction in both the Bush and Obama administrations, rising to become acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for National Security Affairs and also served three terms with the CIA in Iraq.  

Before succeeding Mike Rogers in the 8th District Bishop had a checkered political career.

He took office in the Michigan House in January 1999 in the 45th District and served in that position until the end of 2002 when he was elected to the State Senate in the 12th District.

While in the Senate he was elected to be the Majority Leader in 2007 until he left office due to term limits in 2010.  Turning his tenure as Majority Leader he attempted to block efforts to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge betwee Detroit and Canada, according to former governor and ambassador to Canada Jim Blanchard.

In 2010 Bishop made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for state attorney general. Two years later he ran for Oakland County prosecutor, but lost to the Democrat incumbent.

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