Two more Republicans jump into race to face Rep. Slotkin

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Two more Republicans filed this week to run against Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin for the 8th District seat, bringing the tally of GOP challengers to four. 

Paul Junge

Paul Junge, a Brighton resident and former Lansing news anchor, filed his candidacy papers Tuesday, while Kristina Lyke, a Fowlerville resident and East Lansing lawyer, filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. 

The GOP candidates challenging Slotkin have cited the first-term lawmaker's support of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump as one of their reasons for entering the race. 

“We elected a president in 2016,” Junge said. “The notion that we have people trying to impeach the president when the election is less than a year away is offensive.”

Slotkin, a former CIA analyst, supported an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s July call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy but has said she has no foregone conclusions regarding whether the inquiry should result in impeachment. 

The Holly Democrat flipped the 8th District in 2018 when she beat Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester by nearly 4 percentage points. Trump won the district by nearly 7 percentage points in 2016. 

The 8th District includes Livingston and Ingham counties as well as northern Oakland County. Ingham is traditionally a Democratic stronghold, while Livingston is reliably Republican. Northern Oakland has normally been a GOP base, but the county has become increasingly Democratic friendly in the Trump era after Hillary Clinton won it by 8 points in 2016.

As of Sept. 30, Slotkin had raised roughly $2.1 million and had about $1.7 million on hand. None of the Republican candidates have been required to submit fundraising reports yet. 

Junge and Lyke join fellow Republicans Nikki Snyder, a Dexter resident and member of the State Board of Education, and Mike Detmer, a Howell resident and general sales manager at an auto dealership. 

Junge, 53, moved with his family from Michigan to California when he was in the third grade. He worked briefly as a deputy district attorney before helping with the family business of maintaining military housing. 

He returned to the state in 2003 to work as an anchor at Fox 47 in Lansing and obtain a master's of business administration degree at the University of Michigan. He later moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked first for the Senate Judiciary Committee and then for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

He returned to Brighton in September. 

If elected, Junge plans to focus on jobs, the economy, border security and health care. 

“I’m interested in the issues that affect people and I think we should have a voice in Washington that reflect what the people of the 8th district want,” he said.

A lifelong resident of Livingston and Ingham counties, Lyke owns a law practice in East Lansing focusing on defense and family law.

On her campaign website, Lyke said she would push back against efforts to impinge on gun rights, attempts to increase government and the "frightening push for socialism."

"Kristina knows and understands the priorities, values, and struggles of the people in the 8th Congressional District because she and her family have lived them," Lyke's website said. "She has spent her life making the lives of her neighbors, family, friends better."

Lyke did not immediately return a call for comment.