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Michigan's race for Congress: Bill Huizenga seeks another term in 4th District

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga has been in Congress since 2011.

Incumbent Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, is seeking another term in office in a solidly Republican region, although he will have a Democratic challenger after Joseph Alfonso successfully earned enough write-in votes during the primary to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Huizenga has served in Congress since 2011 and is a member of the House Financial Services Committee and has served in leadership on task forces involving the Great Lakes and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Before running for office, he 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.

Huizenga voted against impeaching former President Donald Trump and earned Trump’s endorsement for his reelection bid. Among other issues, Huizenga supports a balanced federal budget, reducing regulations and taxes on businesses and restrictions on abortion access. 

Alfonso is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and most recently worked in the inspections department for the city of Kentwood. Alfonso has also worked as an electrician, sales attendant and banker, according to his website.

If elected, Alfonso would support refocusing military spending to direct more resources to service members and families, enforcing antitrust laws, improving water quality and access to government services and protecting reproductive rights.

Libertarian Lorence Wenke and Curtis Michael Clark of the U.S. Taxpayers Party are also running.

How things have changed

The current district Huizenga represents stretches along Lake Michigan, from Holland to Ludington, and also includes Grand Rapids suburbs such as Kentwood and Grandville. 

The new district is farther south, covering the lakeshore from southern Ottawa County to Benton Harbor and St. Joseph and extending east to include Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. It covers the entirety of Allegan and Van Buren counties and includes portions of Berrien, Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Ottawa counties. 

What to expect

This new district might have had a competitive primary had U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, opted to run for re-election after he and Huizenga were drawn into the same district. 

Citing redistricting, Upton announced his retirement from Congress in April, leaving the solidly Republican district wide open for Huizenga. 

State Rep. Steve Carra, who’d hoped to challenge Upton following his vote to impeach Trump, opted to drop his congressional bid and run for reelection to the state Legislature after the districts shifted and Trump opted to endorse Huizenga in the new 4th District. 

Initially, no Democrats qualified for the ballot to challenge Huizenga. Although Alfonso will now be listed on the ballot after a successful primary write-in campaign, this is a very safe seat for Republicans.

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