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Brighton — U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop emphasized his local roots and his track record in Washington, D.C., as he launched his campaign for re-election in Livingston County on Monday.

The Rochester Republican is seeking a third term representing Michigan’s 8th District, a campaign that has been targeted by Democrats hoping to replace Bishop with Democrat Elissa Slotkin of Holly.

“We’re here because he’s targeted,” state Sen. Joe Hune said at Bishop’s campaign kickoff Monday. “I don’t need to tell you folks that. You’ve seen it.”

Slotkin, 41, who received the endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden last week, moved back to Michigan a year ago. She had spent 15 years serving in the U.S. intelligence and defense communities in Washington and abroad during the administrations of President George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Democrat Chris Smith of East Lansing also is running for the 8th District seat, which includes Ingham, Livingston and parts of northern Oakland counties.

While introducing Bishop on Monday, Hune, R-Fowlerville, called Smith a “total liberal” but said Slotkin was hiding from that title.

“She’s a total flaming liberal, but she’s going to make every effort to conceal that,” Hune said.

Bishop told the group gathered at the American Spirit Center in Brighton that tax reform, regulatory changes and Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court were examples of what could be accomplished under Republican leadership.

He said the midterm election cycle would be “unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” noting that Slotkin would be raising money from across the United States. Bishop emphasized that he was born and raised in the 8th District and knows the local people and issues.

“She is from Washington, D.C.,” Bishop said. “She will claim that she lives here. And I’m telling you right now she is not connected in any way to this district. If we allow that to happen, it’s just more of the same: Washington insiders running Washington, D.C.”

Bishop’s seat is one that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hopes to flip in the midterm elections. The seat also was targeted in 2014 and 2016. Bishop won election to his second term by beating Suzanna Shkreli, a Macomb County assistant prosecutor, by nearly 17 percentage points.

Some election forecasters have shifted ratings for the 8th District from “likely” Republican to “leans” Republican, in part because of Slotkin’s national security experience and relative fundraising success.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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