Michigan, Meet Your Next Democratic Senator Elissa Slotkin!
Sen. Debbie Stabenow from Michigan announced in January that she planned to retire at the end of her current term in 2024, and we now have an answer for who's likely to replace her — well, our preferred answer, as Republicans will run their own awful candidate.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin from Lansing told the Detroit Free Press on Monday that she plans to enter the Senate race to fill Stabenow's seat. Slotkin is hella qualified for this promotion: She was a Middle East analyst with the CIA, the National Security Council staff's director for Iraq policy from 2007 to 2009, the senior adviser on Middle East transition with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy ... whew! ... and she served as acting assistant Defense Department secretary under former President Barack Obama. She's 46, but we're sure you've also done a lot with your life.
Slotkin flipped Michigan's Eighth Congressional District seat in 2018, defeating Republican incumbent Mike Bishop. In 2020, she was one of just seven Democrats to win a district that Donald Trump carried. Her district was redrawn after the 2020 census into one that would've narrowly backed Joe Biden. However, she decisively defeated her Republican opponent Tom Barrett in last year's midterms by five points.
PREVIOUSLY: Sen. Debbie Stabenow Has HAD IT With You People, IS OUT OF HERE!
In her campaign launch video, Slotkin says:
There are certain things that should be really simple — like living a middle class life in the state that invented the middle class; like making things in America, so that we’re in control of our own economic security; like protecting our children from the things that are truly harming them; and preserving our rights and our democracy so that our kids can live their version of the American Dream. This is why I’m running for the United States Senate. We need a new generation of leaders that thinks differently, works harder and never forgets that we are public servants.
Wow, that's real good. The New York Times will probably start suggesting that Slotkin instead replace either Vice President Kamala Harris or Biden himself in 2024. (Seriously, this is an issue at the Times that we'll address elsewhere.)
It was believed that a lot of ambitious Democrats would make a push for Stabenow's seat. It's a presidential election year, so a Democratic Senate candidate will enjoy Biden's coattails (Uncle Joe won Michigan by three in 2020). So far, though, Slotkin is the first to formally declare. (Wonkette's editrix Rebecca is hoping state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, who loudly and shamelessly advocates for Democrat things that people like, like not beating up on our gay children, will skip the "US House" step and jump straight for the US Senate, but we can't imagine any Democrats with serious career goals would want to mess with Slotkin, who fundraises like a demon.) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been mentioned as a possible candidate, but she already has a job. She might consider the White House a more appealing next step.
If Slotkin's the nominee, she may or may not face Republican House Rep. John James who has a consistent record losing Senate races (2018 to Stabenow and 2020 to Gary Peters). James has reportedly already filed to run again for his current House seat next year.
The only Republican candidates so far are Michael Hoover, a small businessman and first-time loser, and Nikki Snyder, a member of the state Board of Education, so we imagine she has a strong position on drag queens.
Michigan is considered a swing state but no Republican has won a Senate race there since 1994's Republican wave. Spencer Abraham defeated former US Rep. Bob Carr but served just one term before Stabenow whooped him in 2000. We look forward to Slotkin potentially continuing the streak.
Slotkin discussed her candidacy and positions in further depth on last night's "The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell."
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."