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7th District goes to “Toss Up” status with Slotkin announcing for Senate

Almost immediately after U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) announced on Monday she was running for Michigan’s open Senate seat, the status of the 7th Congressional District she represents moved from leaning Democratic in 2024 to a toss-up.

That’s according to the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political forecaster. Republicans have been trying reclaim the district since Slotkin eked out a four-point win over incumbent Republican Mike Bishop in 2018. She then held on against Republican challenger Paul Junge in 2020 before defeating In former state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) last November 52%-46%, outspending him by a more than four-to-one margin; $11.3 million to $2.7 million in what was the third-most expensive House race in the country in 2022.

Barrett was the first to announce that he would again seek the seat, and while that sets the Army veteran up as the early favorite to be the Republican nominee, Slotkin said his appeal would have a much tougher time after the primaries.

“I look forward to reminding mid-Michiganders of his *five* votes opposing the new GM plant in Delta Township, his extreme stance on a federal abortion ban, and his questioning of the 2020 election results,” she tweeted.

Another possibility for Republicans is state Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton), whose popularity among Republicans remains strong, as she easily beat Trump-endorsed Republican Mike Detmer in the August primary.

Among Democrats, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said she is contemplating a run for the seat.

“In the days and weeks to come, there will be plenty of speculation and decisions being made about the future of our community’s representation,” she wrote in an email to supporters. “I am very flattered to have already heard from friends who have asked what my future holds. And I will tell you what I told them: I simply want to serve the people in the best way that I can.”

Byrum, who previously represented the Lansing area in the Michigan House, included a fundraising link in the email.

Other possible Democratic candidates include Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, who said he plans to “seriously examine the race and make a determination soon,” as well as state Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Twp.), who said she would consider it if needed.

Other candidates could include former state Senator Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing), who now serves as legislative director for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; state Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), state Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Twp.) and state Sen. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing).

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