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Washington — Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed Democrat Elissa Slotkin in her bid to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester.

Her campaign said Slotkin often advised Biden on national security matters in her previous post at the Pentagon.

In a statement, Biden praised Slotkin’s “dedication, integrity and commitment to service,” having first met her when she was aiding the transition of then President-elect Barack Obama into the White House.

“Elissa Slotkin is a true public servant who has experience working to solve tough problems, no matter what. Michigan’s 8th District — and our entire country — needs a leader who understands that the strength of our country abroad is only as strong as our economy at home,” said Biden, who hasn’t ruled out another presidential run.

“I am proud to support her. She is part of a new generation of service-centered leaders that this country needs now more than ever.”

Prior to moving back to Michigan a year ago, Slotkin spent about 15 years serving in the U.S. intelligence and defense communities in Washington and abroad during the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Slotkin, 41, of Holly had worked most recently as a top adviser to two secretaries of defense on security and defense issues related to the Middle East, Europe, Russia, Africa and Latin America, overseeing security cooperation programs.

She welcomed Biden’s endorsement Wednesday.

“Throughout his career, Vice President Biden has embodied principled leadership – and has never forgotten that people should be at the center of government’s work,” Slotkin said in a statement.

“He is among a small handful of American statesmen who still put people above partisanship, champion the working people of the country, and remind us the United States is only as strong as our middle class families.”

Chris Smith, a progressive Democrat from East Lansing, is also running in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 8th District. Smith, who is on leave from teaching at Michigan State University’s School of Criminal Justice, has made single-payer or government-financed health care a centerpiece of his campaign.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted Bishop’s seat among those it hopes to flip in the midterm elections.

Bishop won re-election to his second term in 2016 by beating Macomb County assistant prosecutor Suzanna Shkreli by nearly 17 percentage points.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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