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Who’s running to replace Elissa Slotkin in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District?

Michigan's 7th Congressional District map
Michigan's 7th Congressional District is in the middle of the state, and it’s split nearly down the middle politically too. (State of Michigan)
  • U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s decision to run for Senate created an open congressional seat that is garnering national attention
  • Former state Sens. Tom Barrett and Curtis Hertel Jr. are competing in the 7th Congressional District
  • The mid-Michigan swing district includes the cities Lansing, East Lansing, St. Johns, Owosso and Howell

An open mid-Michigan congressional district is shaping up to be one of the state's — and nation's — most competitive races.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, is vacating her 7th Congressional District seat in a bid to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. 

That leaves an open seat that former state lawmakers Curtis Hertel and Tom Barrett are competing to fill. Hertel is a Democrat. Barrett is a Republican.


The district is split nearly down the middle politically, with local voters leaning Democratic by only one percentage point in the 2020 presidential election. In 2016, the region leaned Republican by four percentage points.


Slotkin narrowly defeated Barrett in the district in 2022, winning 52% of the votes to Barrett’s 46%.

The district combines Ingham, Livingston, Shiawassee and Clinton counties, along with most of Eaton County and small portions of Oakland and Genesee counties. Notable cities include Lansing, East Lansing, St. Johns, Owosso and Howell.

Barrett and Hertel were the only major-party candidates to file required signatures by the April 23 deadline. They’ll run unopposed in the Aug. 6 primary before squaring off in the Nov. 5 general election. Third parties can also nominate candidates at conventions later in the year.


Curtis Hertel, Jr.: Hertel, of East Lansing, is a former state senator and most recently served as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s legislative director. He’s also served on the Ingham County Commission and as the county’s Register of Deeds. His father, Curtis Hertel Sr., was a former co-speaker of the Michigan House, and several members of his family have been involved in Michigan politics. Hertel has said he is running as a “tireless advocate” for the region and if elected would focus on bringing electric vehicle jobs to Michigan, lowering health care costs, protecting reproductive rights and addressing gun safety issues.



Tom Barrett: Barrett, of Charlotte, is a U.S. Army veteran and member of the Michigan Army National Guard who previously served in both the state House and Senate, representing a wide swath of the 7th Congressional district in the Michigan Legislature. He challenged Slotkin in 2022 but was narrowly defeated. In announcing his second run for the seat, Barrett said he would oppose subsidies for corporations, support economic growth and fight for U.S.-Mexico border security. “I’m not running to be the lesser of two evils — I’m running because I want to leave my children an America worth defending,” he said in a campaign video.

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