U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg beats Driskell in 7th District, wins sixth term

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, seeks re-election in the 7th Congressional District.

A rematch between U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg and Democratic challenger Gretchen Driskell on Tuesday in Michigan's 7th District ended the same way it did two years ago with Walberg winning the race, according to the Associated Press.

With 100 percent of the unofficial results in, Walberg beat Driskell, a former state representative from Saline, 54 percent to 46 percent.

Walberg, who was seeking his sixth term, said he'll continue to fight for more opportunities and a brighter future for the voters in his district.

"Voters from every corner of the district affirmed and responded to our solutions-oriented message and record of results," Walberg said in a statement. "From growing a healthy economy to combating the drug addiction crisis, we have focused on advancing policies that strengthen our communities and improve people’s lives."

The district includes the Eaton County portion of Lansing, along with Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

Walberg defeated Driskell in 2016 by 15 percentage points in a district where President Donald Trump has been popular.

Despite that advantage, Driskell raised more money than the incumbent this time around and argued that she, like Trump, wants change.

Walberg, one of Michigan's most conservative House members, throughout the campaign, played up his willingness to work with Democrats and mentioned former President Barack Obama in a commercial.

The Democrats have frequently targeted Walberg, 67, a former pastor, who lost his first re-election bid in 2008 to Mark Schauer. But Walberg beat Schauer in a 2010 rematch when Republicans experienced their own wave election and retook control of the U.S. House. 

The incumbent has beaten back challenges ever since, especially after the district lines got redrawn in 2012. 

The 7th District, which encompasses four counties such as Monroe along the Ohio border along with three others, is on the "outer fringes of takeover opportunities for Democrats," said Bill Ballenger of the Ballenger Report, a longtime Michigan political observer and former GOP state lawmaker.

The Cook Political Report rates the district "likely Republican."