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Michigan has three open congressional seats that will be filled in the November election, a rarity for the state delegation. Who wins those open seats will play a significant role in which party controls the House next year.

Here are our recommendations for the Aug. 7 primary for the U.S. House in districts that represent Metro Detroit:

8th District (Oakland, Livingston and Ingham counties): Incumbent Mike Bishop faces a primary challenge from Lokesh Kumar, owner of an electronics firm. Bishop, seeking his third term, is working to persuade President Donald Trump to temper his tariffs affecting the automotive and agriculture industries, and was one of the few votes for the recent immigration reform proposals. He should be renominated. 

Of the Democrats seeking to replace him, Chris Smith, a Harvard grad and Michigan State University criminal justice professor, has the most depth. Smith describes the Affordable Care Act as a “noble experiment,” but acknowledges it has flaws that need to be addressed. He faces Elissa Slotkin, a well-financed candidate who returned to the district after serving with the CIA. Libertarian Brian Ellison is unopposed.

9th District (parts of Oakland and Macomb counties): Longtime incumbent Democratic Rep. Sandy Levin is retiring. His son, Andy Levin, would like to succeed him. But congressional seats should be earned, not inherited, and Andy Levin’s record in the district is scanty, aside from appointed positions in the Granholm administration. 

That can’t be said of Ellen Lipton, a former state representative who was an aggressive advocate for her constituents. She is now the president of the Michigan Promise Zone Association, which works to help students pay for college. Lipton, who has Multiple Scelerosis, was instrumental in winning passage of the ballot initiative enabling stem cell research in Michigan. As a lawmaker, she led the effort criminal justice reform effort that improved representation for indigent defendants. She also formed the Progressive Women’s Caucus in the House.The former patent attorney is a Harvard Law School grad. Her priorities are education and health care. She is the better choice. Martin Brock, an attorney and former Bloomfield Hills school board member, is also running in the Democratic primary. Republican Candius Stearns is unopposed.

10th District (Macomb and St. Clair counties): First term incumbent Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell is unopposed. Three Democrats -- Frank Accavitti, Kimberly Bizon and Michael McCarthy -- are vying for the right to challenge him. Accavitti, a former state representative and Macomb County Commissioner, has the most impressive resume and should get the nomination.

11th District (Oakland and western Wayne counties): The decision by Republican Rep. Dave Trott not to seek a third term sparked the congressional ambitions of 10 hopefuls. It is the most crowded congressional field on the Michigan ballot.

Familiar names populate the Republican ticket. Former state lawmakers Rocky Raczkowski, Mike Kowall and Klint Kesto are running, and all are qualified to serve. However, our choice is Lena Epstein, a business executive and GOP activist who has brought enormous passion and a remarkable work ethic to the race. Epstein delivered her first child during the campaign without missing a beat. We expect she’d bring that same enthusiasm and freshness to Congress. Her emphasis is on economic growth and improving the workforce. She’ll also be a powerful advocate for Israel. Former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is also running.

Democrats sense an opportunity in this demographically changing district, and that has drawn five of them into the race. Of the group, we prefer Tim Greimel, the minority leader of the state House. Greimel has attempted to work across the aisle to find solutions, and has been open to compromise as the leader of his caucus. The other Democrats on the ballot are Suneel Gupta, computer programmer and attorney; Fayrouz Saad, Detroit’s director of immigrant affairs; Haley Stevens, an Obama administration staffer; and Nancy Skinner, a radio personality. Libertarian Leonard Schwartz is unopposed. 

13th District (Detroit, portions of downriver and western Wayne): John Conyers resigned from this seat amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

His great nephew, Ian Conyers, is among the six Democrats seeking the seat, along with Westland Mayor Bill Wild, former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, state Sen. Coleman Young II and former State Rep. Shanelle Jackson. Conyers, 29, has been impressive as a state senator. The Michigan delegation would benefit from his youth and energy, and Detroit could use a representative who understands the new generation of residents who are committed to rebuilding their city. He is the best choice. There are no Republicans on the ballot.

 

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