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House GOP leader: Michigan to ‘determine the outcome’ of Congress

Michigan Republican Congressional candidates Paul Junge, John James, Martell Bivings and Tom Barrett join House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, for a tour of Madison Heights-based Southeast Michigan Construction Academy.

The outcome of competitive congressional seats in Michigan will likely “change the whole election,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday during an event in southeast Michigan.

McCarthy, R-California, came to Michigan to support candidates in competitive congressional races, participating in a roundtable at the Madison Heights-based Southeast Michigan Construction Academy with three Republican congressional hopefuls John James, Tom Barrett and Paul Junge. 

“These are seats that can change the whole election,” McCarthy said, noting that Michigan will likely “determine the outcome” of the path to the majority as Republicans seek to retake the majority from House Democrats. 

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Martell Bivings, running against state Rep. Shri Thanedar in the heavily Democratic 13th Congressional District, was also present for a tour of the Madison Heights facility. 

McCarthy’s appearance in Michigan is a show of support for Republican candidates who have a shot at serving in Congress this fall should they succeed in flipping districts made competitive following the state’s redistricting process. 

McCarthy and the GOP candidates sought to focus on high inflation and other issues currently facing their districts, seeking to differentiate themselves from their Democratic counterparts and pitching a chance to provide a “check and balance” to President Joe Biden and current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

They heard from local business owners and members of the manufacturing industry, who expressed concerns about worker shortages for manufacturing positions, high gas prices affecting their employees’ commutes and business operating costs and supply chain shortages.

Barrett, who is currently serving in the state Senate and running in what’s considered a tossup district against incumbent U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, said he was motivated to run because he believes “we need to do better and differently than we’re doing right now.” 

“These are some of the most competitive races in the entire country, and the outcome of these races will determine, absolutely, the majority of Congress,” said Barrett, R-Charlotte. 

The country is at a “hinge point,” McCarthy said, suggesting that the 2022 election provides a major contrast between the two parties on both social and economic issues.

James is running for federal office for a third time, setting his sights on the 10th Congressional District after two unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate in 2018 and 2020. The Macomb County-based district is considered Republican-leaning. But his opponent, Democrat Carl Marlinga, has served as a judge and prosecutor in Macomb County and is well known in the area. 

Junge, of Fenton, is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, in the 8th Congressional District. Kildee has the incumbent advantage and has represented the region for nearly a decade, but the region has trended more conservative in recent years.

Earlier this week, McCarthy also visited Grand Rapids, where Republican hopeful John Gibbs recently defeated incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer in the GOP primary and is facing a competitive general election race against Democrat Hillary Scholten.

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