Election 2018: 8th Congressional District featured big money, harsh attacks


It has been 18 years since a Democrat represented the U.S. 8th Congressional District but that has changed.

By a narrow margin, Elissa Slotkin defeated incumbent Republican Mike Bishop.

It was well after 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning when Slotkin claimed victory when Bishop conceded. 

To say the race for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District seat was contentious would be an understatement.

Incumbent Republican Mike Bishop was targeted early on by Democrats as vulnerable.

The party saw it as an opportunity to gather a seat that has been in Republican hands since 2000 when Mike Rogers won the seat that then-U.S. Rep. Debbie Stabenow left to run for the U.S. Senate seat she now holds.

Bishop, and the Republican Party, dug in.

The race has smashed existing campaign finance records for U.S. House races. 

An analysis of U.S. House fundraising disclosures through Sept. 30 from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network showed about $16.5 million had already been spent in the 8th, with $7.4 million of that coming from outside spending. Slotkin, who has raised more than $5.4 million, has raised the most money of any U.S. House candidate in Michigan this cycle, the analysis found.

The previous record was $14 million spent in the race against Mark Schauer and Tim Walberg in the 2010 7th Congressional District race. 

Both candidates said they expected to win and polling indicated that, while Bishop had a slight edge as Election Day neared, the race was narrowing.

The campaigns launched a steady stream of attack ads.  Bishop’s campaign attempted to create the impression that Slotkin was an outsider who didn’t even own a home in Michigan.  Slotkin responded that she spent time away from the state because she was serving her country through three tours of duty in Iraq with the CIA and working in intelligence positions with Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Slotkin’s campaign has attacked Bishop stand on health care, claiming he didn’t support people with pre-existing conditions.  He refuted those claims and said Slotkin’s been pumping money into the race to spread lies and distortions about his record.

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