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Michigan's race for Congress: John Moolenaar seeks fifth term in 2nd District

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, is seeking a fifth term on Nov. 8 in a redrawn district that shifted west, but retained its conservative leanings. 

Moolenaar has served in Congress since 2015 and serves on the House Appropriations Committee. 

Moolenaar opposes abortion, gun control measures and the Build Back Better proposal from the Biden administration. He has supported voter-identification requirements, lowering taxes, energy independence, funding for the Great Lakes and increasing access to broadband in rural areas.

Moolenaar was one of four Michigan congressional Republicans who, in December 2020, signed onto an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election. He’s been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Before Congress, Moolenaar served in the state House and Senate and on the Midland City Council. He also worked as a chemist at Dow Chemical Company. 

He’s running against Democrat Jerry Hilliard, who ran unsuccessfully against Moolenaar in 2018 and 2020. 

Hilliard has worked as a public school teacher and community college instructor and in sales for Nabisco. He supports increasing the minimum wage, protecting abortion rights and reproductive health care, banning assault weapons to decrease gun violence and addressing climate change.

Libertarian Nathan Hewer is also running for the seat.

How things have changed

The new 2nd Congressional District sprawls across all or part of 20 Michigan counties in central Michigan and along the Lake Michigan shoreline: Barry, Clare, Eaton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottawa and Wexford. 

The district shifted significantly westward from the territory Moolenaar currently represents, and his hometown of Midland was drawn into a different district. But much of the territory in the new 2nd District overlaps with the current 4th District, and the political leanings are ideologically similar.

What to expect

This district is solidly Republican, meaning Moolenaar is in good shape to retain his seat in Congress. 

In August, Moolenaar easily defeated challenger Tom Norton in the Republican primary. He ran and won against Hilliard twice. Expect a three-peat in 2022.

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