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Elissa Slotkin, a former defense official in the Obama administration, has won the Democratic primary Tuesday in Michigan's 8th Congressional District, clearing the way for her to face incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop in November.

Slotkin received 70.7 percent of the party's vote. Her challenger, Chris Smith of East Lansing, received 29.3 percent, according to unofficial results.

"I’m proud to have earned the votes of so many people today, and thankful to the amazing volunteers who came out to knock doors and make calls," Slotkin said late Tuesday.

"Over the last year, I’ve heard one, clear message from Democrats, Republicans and independents across the district: Folks want new voices and a new generation in Washington who will be accountable to voters, not special interest."

Bishop of Rochester led his primary race with 92.3 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results. His challenger, Lokesh Kumar, a Republican businessman from Okemos, received about 7.7 percent.

The district, which includes northern Oakland County and parts of Ingham and Livingston counties, voted for President Donald Trump with 51 percent of the vote in 2016. Bishop won re-election by 17 percentage points that year.

Bishop, 51, said he is proud of what he has done in Congress and looks forward to the contest in November.

"People in this community know me," Bishop said Tuesday night. "I am honored by the support of my fellow Michiganders. I look forward to discussing my record of helping families earn higher wages, protecting children, safeguarding the Great Lakes and working to find common sense solutions to the challenges Michigan families face every day."

Bishop is a former Michigan Senate majority leader and House lawmaker who was the chief legal officer and executive for the International Bancard Corp. He also was a private attorney and a Cooley Law School professor.

Bishop says he is a lead player in combating the opioid epidemic and has helped save $300 million in federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Deane Tierney, 66, of Rochester Hills voted for Bishop, and it was not the first time.

"He has more conservative values, and I tend to vote that way," Tierney said.

Richard Monroe and his wife, Beth, voted for Slotkin in Tuesday's primary, singling out her credentials and work history with the government as reasons for their support.

"She is actually what I think is a new wave: a younger woman who has strong credentials with the government. ... She's got everything you really want in a candidate. It's a refreshing change," said Richard Monroe, 74.

The Rochester Hills couple predicted Slotkin could beat Bishop in the fall and that some Republicans may be turning away from the party and its traditional candidates.

"She has some tough competition — not in him so much — but in the district that been forged for him. If you look at the way it's been gerrymandered," Richard Monroe said. "There are seeds of change coming out there. There is enough impetus to draw the community toward her."

Slotkin served three tours in Iraq as an Arabic-speaking Central Intelligence Agency analyst before serving in various posts in the U.S. intelligence and defense communities during the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The 42-year-old moved back to Michigan in spring 2017 after her national security posts and lives in Holly.

Slotkin says she is the best candidate in the race because she understands what it means to be a public servant who is mission orientated. 

 

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