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Michigan Congress: Hillary Scholten, Elissa Slotkin win; Dan Kildee, John James lead

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  • Elissa Slotkin, Hillary Scholten win closely-watched races
  • Dan Kildee leads Paul Junge, John James up over Carl Marlinga
  • Michigan loses congressional seat due to sluggish population

Nov. 9, 2022 update: Rep. Dan Kildee and John James win their contests

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin won a tough race for re-election, while fellow Democrat Hillary Scholten defeated John Gibbs, a former official in the Trump administration, in her bid for Congress on Tuesday.

In Michigan's other competitive congressional races, incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee took the lead in District 8, while John James was leading Carl Marlinga in District 10. 

James declared victory shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, leading the former prosecutor by less than 2,000 votes out of more than 300,000 cast.

As expected, state Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit, also coasted to victory in District 13, one of the most reliably Democratic districts in the state.

Other races called by the Associated Press as of 6:30 a.m. Wednesday included easy wins for incuments:

  • Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, in the 1st District
  • Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, in the  2nd District
  • Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, in the 4th District
  • Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, in the 5th District
  • Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Ann Arbor, in the 6th District
  • Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce, in the 9th District
  • Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Waterford, in the 11th District
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, in the 12th District

Here are early results among the districts expected to be the most competitive:

District 3: Hillary Scholten (D) vs. John Gibbs (R )

With 86 percent of votes counted, Hillary Scholten led John Gibbs 53 percent to 44 percent.

Scholten, who previously worked for the Department of Justice under the Obama administration and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2020, gained momentum for her second bid for office after the state’s independent redistricting commission created a Grand Rapids-centric district that extends to the Lake Michigan coastline and incorporates portions of Muskegon and Ottawa counties. 

The shift made the seat far more competitive than previous maps, shaking up a region that has been represented by Republicans for decades.

As the district became more competitive politically, Republicans chose a more conservative candidate in Gibbs, who ran to current Rep. Peter Meijer’s right on grounds that his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump amounted to a “sense of betrayal” among west Michigan Republicans. 

Gibbs was significantly outspent by both Meijer and Scholten, although during the primary he got a boost from an unusual source: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which dropped an attack ad against Gibbs labeling him “too conservative” during the primary as part of a nationwide effort to boost the chances of pro-Trump candidates deemed easier to beat than more moderate Republicans. 

After polls closed Tuesday, Kent County Clerk Lisa Lyons reported a significant line at Kent County City Hall of people registering to vote before casting their ballot, which she estimated would take three hours to complete. Voters in line prior to 8 p.m. will still have their votes counted. 

District 7: Elissa Slotkin (D) vs. Tom Barrett (R)

With 94 percent of estimated votes counted, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin won 51 percent to 47 percent for state Sen. Tom Barrett in one of the nation's most competitive races.

The mid-Michigan district links Ingham County, home to Michigan’s capital city of Lansing and Michigan State University, with more rural surrounding counties and is considered one of the most competitive in the country. 

Slotkin is technically the incumbent, but redistricting meant that her family farm of Holly was drawn into a separate district that included only part of her current district. She moved to Lansing to run in the 7th district. 

Slotkin previously served as a Middle East analyst for the CIA and worked in national security roles as part of the Bush and Obama administrations. In 2018, she took on incumbent Republican Mike Bishop and won. She successfully defended her seat in 2020, making her one of seven Democrats nationwide to win a House seat that voted for former President Donald Trump.

Barrett is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has served in both the Michigan House and Senate, where he currently chairs the Michigan Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He defeated incumbent Democrat Theresa Abed to win a state House seat in 2014, beat her again in 2016 and won in a competitive state Senate race in 2018.

The race drew millions of dollars in outside spending from both Republicans and Democrats, although Slotkin’s campaign had a fundraising edge over Barrett over the course of the cycle. 

Election officials reported high numbers of same-day registration at Michigan State University in East Lansing, which trends heavily Democratic. Lines were still long after polls closed, and votes can still be counted so long as the voter was in line by 8 p.m.

District 8: Dan Kildee (D) vs. Paul Junge (R)

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, retained his seat in Congress despite his district getting significantly more competitive during the redistricting process, beating Paul Junge.

With 74 percent of estimated votes countedy, Kildee led 51 percent to 45 percent.

Kildee succeeded his uncle, former U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee, after his retirement in 2012 and is a member of Democratic Congressional Leadership. If he’s re-elected, it will be his sixth term — but it isn’t a sure bet after the new district shifted to include more conservative areas like Midland. 

The political winds of the region, particularly in Saginaw and Bay counties, have also shifted in recent cycles, trending more conservative among working class union voters. 

That left an opening for Junge, a former TV news anchor, prosecutor and Trump administration official who unsuccessfully ran against Slotkin in 2020. The district was viewed as a prime pickup opportunity by national Republicans eager to flip the congressional majority.

District 10: John James (R) vs. Carl Marlinga (D) 

With all precincts reporting, John James, a businessman and third-time candidate for federal office, led Democrat Carl Marlinga, a former Macomb County judge and prosecutor, 159,203 votes to 157,602, according to unofficial results

That is a margin that would trigger an automatic recount if the race was a statewide contest. James declared victory. Marlinga had not yet conceded as of 8:30 a.m.

The Macomb County-based 10th Congressional District pitted two familiar faces against each other, and the outcome remains too close to call. 

Compared to other competitive congressional seats in Michigan, the 10th was considered more Republican leaning, although still close on paper. 

Both incumbent congressional Democrats who could have made a play for the seat, Haley Stevens and Andy Levin, opted against running there, choosing to run against each other instead. That resulted in a five-way Democratic primary, where Marlinga came out the victor. 

James, a U.S. Army veteran and president of James Group, a supply chain management company his father founded, had no serious challengers for the seat and was well-funded from the start, making it an uphill battle for Marlinga. 

Also on Michigan’s congressional ballot Tuesday were:

1st District: Jack Bergman vs. Bob Lorinser

Incumbent Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, szs leading the race against Democrat Bob Lorinser 60 percent to 37 percent.

Lorinser is a Marquette physician who worked as a family doctor and a regional medical officer for the Department of State before returning to serve as medical director for the Marquette County Health Department in 2020.

This district includes Traverse City, Marquette, Alpena, Houghton and is the largest district by land mass in the state.

2nd District: John Moolenaar vs. Jerry Hilliard

Incumbent U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, won a fifth term against Democrat Jerry Hilliard, 64 percent to 34 percent. Moolenaar has beaten Hilliard twice in previous races.

This district includes Mount Pleasant, Big Rapids and Cadillac.

4th District: Bill Huizenga vs. Joseph Alfonso

Incumbent Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, won against Democrat Joseph Alfonso in the solidly Republican region, 56 percent to 41 percent.

Huizenga has served in Congress since 2011 and previously served in the Michigan House of Representatives and worked as a staffer for former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra. He co-owns Huizenga Gravel Inc.

Alfonso, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who most recently worked in the inspections department for the city of Kentwood, successfully earned enough write-in votes during the primary to appear on the general election ballot. 

The district includes Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor and South Haven. 

5th District: Tim Walberg vs. Bart Goldberg

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, won against Democrat Bart Goldberg of New Buffalo, 63 percent to 34 percent.

First elected to Congress in 2006, the former state representative and pastor lost a re-election bid to Democrat Mark Schauer, but won back the seat in 2010 and has been in office since. 

Goldberg started his own law practice after graduating from law school and is president of his homeowners association, according to his campaign website.

The district includes Monroe, Jackson, Marshall, Coldwater and Three Rivers.

6th District: Debbie Dingell vs. Whittney Williams

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, won a fifth term against Republican Whittney Williams, a U.S. auto show product specialist, 64 percent to 36 percent.

This district includes Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Novi, Plymouth and Brownstown Township.

9th District: Lisa McClain (R) vs. Brian Jaye (D)

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, won a second term against Democrat Brian Jaye, 64 percent to 33 percent. 

McClain, previously senior vice president of Michigan-based financial services company Hantz Group, succeeded former U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, a critic of former President Donald Trump who retired from Congress in 2020. Jaye is a lawyer and owner of a vintage toy store.

The district includes Port Huron, Macomb Township, Romeo, Clarkston and Bad Axe. 

11th District: Haley Stevens (D) vs. Mark Ambrose (R)

Haley Stevens won a third term in Congress, defeating Republican Mark Ambrose of Bloomfield Township, 61 percent to 39 percent.

Before taking office, Stevens served as chief of staff for the U.S. Auto Rescue Task Force in the Obama administration and worked in a research lab. Ambrose is a military veteran and financial analyst. 

Stevens won a head-to-head challenge with sitting U.S. Rep. Andy Levin in the primary, meaning Levin will no longer serve in Congress starting in January.  

The district includes Troy, West Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, Waterford and Birmingham.

12th District: Rashida Tlaib (D) vs. Steven Elliott (R)

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, won a third term in Congress against Steven Elliott, R-Southfield, 74 percent to 23 percent.

Tlaib is an activist and attorney and served three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives before running for Congress. Elliott is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He founded American Pride Tattoo Studio in Oakland County and owns a laser aesthetics center in Rochester.

The district includes ​​Detroit, Southfield, Dearborn, Livonia, Westland and Redford Township.

13th District: Shri Thanedar (D) vs. Martell Bivings (R) 

State Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit, became Michigan's first Indian-American member of Congress, beating Republican Martell Bivings, a former business liaison with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. , 72 percent to 23 percent.

Thanedar, a chemist and entrepreneur, ran an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 before moving to Detroit and being elected to the state House in the 2020 election. He came out the victor in a competitive August primary, sparking concerns that Detroit would not have a Black representative in Congress for the first time in decades

The district includes Detroit, Grosse Pointe communities, Lincoln Park, Taylor and Wyandotte.

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