Bishop rival Slotkin wouldn’t back Pelosi as speaker
Democrat Elissa Slotkin, who aims to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester in the midterm elections, says she would not back Nancy Pelosi to lead House Democrats.
Slotkin, 41, joins a growing number of Democrats distancing themselves from Pelosi on the campaign trail, as their GOP opponents try to link them to the California Democrat. This popular Republican tactic has succeeded in past elections.
“I don’t like to be disrespectful to anyone who has served — particularly a woman who’s broken ceilings — but I think on both sides of the aisle people are saying that they want new leaders, and we need to hear that,” Slotkin told The Detroit News last week in Lansing.
“They want a new generation. And I would support the person that represents my district, my state, and I think that’s someone new.”
Bishop’s campaign has depicted Slotkin as a candidate hand-picked by Pelosi’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and who owns a home in the District of Columbia.
Slotkin, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who lives in Holly, moved back to her home state of Michigan over a year ago from Washington after leaving her position as a top defense official at the Pentagon.
Pelosi, who has served in Congress for three decades, told The Boston Globe on Tuesday she intends to lead Democrats in Congress if they clinch the majority in November.
“We will win. I will run for speaker. I feel confident about it. And my members do, too,” said Pelosi, who overcame a challenge to her leadership after the 2016 election.
“It’s important that it not be five white guys at the table, no offense,” Pelosi added. “I have no intention of walking away from that table.”
Dingell starts domestic violence caucus
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, has created a bipartisan caucus that aims to end domestic violence amid the nationwide #MeToo movement and efforts on Capitol Hill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
Dingell launched the group with Republican Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania and Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin. They plan to meet once a month to hear from stakeholders on resources and strategies to prevent domestic violence.
The issue of domestic violence is personal to Dingell, who tells the story of the night in her childhood her father wielded a gun and threatened to shoot her mother. Dingell intervened and tried to grab the weapon, then locked herself and her siblings in a bedroom to hide.
“When I was growing up and this happened in my household, not only did you not talk about it, but the police wouldn’t respond,” Dingell said in an interview. “Now, communities are much more aware of it, schools are more aware. This is trying to shine a light on it, so we can end it.”
Dingell said a problem receiving new attention is immigrant women whose spouses or partners threaten them with deportation if they tell anyone about their abuse.
Dingell has introduced legislation to include dating partners in the category of domestic abusers who are prohibited from purchasing or owning firearms under federal law. Her bipartisan legislation also would clarify that convicted stalkers may not legally purchase a firearm.
Kowall a ‘Young Gun’
The National Republican Congressional Committee has added state Sen. Mike Kowall of White Lake to its list of candidates “On the Radar,” as part of its Young Guns program.
Kowall, a 66-year-old grandfather, is seeking the GOP nomination in the 11th District to replace retiring Rep. Dave Trott, R-Birmingham.
“Mike’s hard work in his campaign for Congress in Michigan’s 11th District has paid off, and we are excited to welcome him to our program. We look forward to watching his campaign continue to progress,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement.
The NRCC program showcases candidates who have demonstrated they can mount competitive races. It requires candidates to meet goals for fundraising and communication in their districts.
The NRCC previously named 11th District candidates Lena Epstein, ex-state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski of Troy and state Rep. Klint Kesto of Commerce Township to the program, as well as Candius Stearns, who is running in the 9th District to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Sandy Levin of Royal Oak.
Kildee forms Freethought Caucus
With three other Democrats, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, this week founded the first Congressional Freethought Caucus, which aims to promote public policy “based on reason, science and moral values, protect the secular character of our government and champion the value of freedom of thought worldwide.”
Kildee formed the group with Reps. Jared Huffman and Jerry McNerney of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Huffman and Raskin will be co-chairs.
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of American Humanist Association said in a statement that the “very existence of this Congressional caucus for freethinkers and humanists is a marker of how far the movement for secular and nontheist equality has come.”
Ron Millar, political and PAC coordinator at the Center for Freethought Equality, said: “This caucus will help end discrimination against nontheist candidates and elected officials, allow candidates and elected officials to be authentic about their religious beliefs, and encourage atheist, agnostic, and humanists to run for political office.”
GOP plots Nessel strategy
Presumed Democratic Attorney General nominee Dana Nessel “makes Jennifer Granholm look like a Mississippi conservative,” according to a new memo from a GOP group plotting an attack strategy for the November election.
The Republican Attorneys General Association is eager to share Nessel’s “radical positions” with Michigan voters, political director Chris Wimer wrote in the memo, highlighting her liberal positions on immigration, gun regulations and marijuana legalization.
A separate website and video published by the group last week features footage of Nessel, apparently filmed by a political tracker, who caught her using adult language and suggesting she’d sue the Trump administration “all day, every day” as attorney general.
“Let’s see if we can do something about changing the $#%# political climate,” Nessel says in one clip. “That was, oh, what’s the term, horse----,” she says in another.
A spokeswoman for Nessel, whose popularity with the progressive left propelled her to a contested party endorsement convention election win last month, declined comment on the website and video.
“We aren’t dignifying that nonsense with a response,” spokeswoman Angela Wittrock said.
Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke and Jonathan Oosting