Slotkin wins election to second term in Congress

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
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Democratic U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin won a second term representing the 8th Congressional District on Wednesday after trailing Republican Paul Junge in early results throughout the night.  

Slotkin was leading Junge 51% to 47% on Wednesday, with all precincts reporting.

Slotkin on Wednesday thanked her supporters and staffers and urged unity as final votes were tallied statewide.

President Donald Trump won the district by a "slim margin," but she was "optimistic" about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's chances of winning Michigan, Slotkin said.

"We must figure out how we come back together as a nation,” shen said.

Slotkin had remained optimistic late Tuesday when early tallies showed Junge ahead, nothing that the early results showed she was running a little ahead of 2018 totals in the precincts that had reported results so far. She was performing better in Howell and Rochesterthan in 2018, and won Brighton after losing it in 2018. 

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin speaks from her family farm in Holly on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 as she awaits the results on her re-election efforts for the 8th district. Screenshot

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has said the state may not get all votes counted in some races until Wednesday night.

The race between the former CIA analyst from Holly and Junge, a Brighton former TV anchor and prosecutor, is expected to test whether Democrats can cement gains made in the 8th Congressional Distrct in 2018, when Slotkin flipped the district from red to blue.

In 2018, Slotkin beat GOP U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester by less than four percentage points in a district President Donald Trump won in 2016 by 8 percentage points. 

The 8th District includes part of the reliably Democratic Ingham County, conservative Livingston County and the increasing Democratic Oakland County. 

Slotkin, 44, has outraised Junge, 54, by millions of dollars. As of mid-October, Slotkin had raised more than $7.5 million and had about $3.4 million on hand. Junge raised about $1.32 million and had about $393,000 on hand. 

In 2018, Slotkin also out-raised Bishop. They're race came the most expensive U.S. House contest in Michigan history at $28.3 million, smashing the prior record of $14 million.

Paul Junge

Slotkin and Junge frequently clashed on the campaign trail over allegations of blind party loyalty and debates over the future of the Affordable Care Act. Slotkin attacked Junge for failing to take a strong enough position on preexisting conditions, and Junge criticized Slotkin for voting in line with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

Both candidates have disputed the attacks as inaccurate and hyperbolic.

Jason Cholewa, a military veteran, planned to vote for Trump as he entered his Oceola Township polling location Tuesday but he wasn’t committed to vote straight ticket. He was still undecided about whether the 8th Congressional District would be the race to split his ballot. 

“I have convictions for both (candidates) so that will probably be a decision I make when I get in there,” Cholewa said, noting the congresswoman’s critique of the president and her loyalty to party were what weighed on him heading in. 

“I believe that she’s got some really great ideas. If she could break away a little bit from the Democratic Party…I’d really be on board with supporting her,” he said.

Hadeel Rass, a junior at Michigan State University, wasn’t thrilled about voting for Biden, but planned to vote a straight Democratic ticket anyway, including Slotkin. 

Like Rass, Lucy Leitch, 25, of East Lansing planned to vote a straight Democratic ticket, including throwing her support behind Slotkin. 

“I’ve had a couple people talk to me about her before…so I definitely just went Democrat for her,” Leitch said. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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