The Detroit suburbs are emerging as an important House battleground. Two-term GOP Rep. Mike Bishop didn't have a well-funded opponent in 2014 or 2016, but that's changing this year. Democrat Elissa Slotkin, who grew up in a well-known meatpacking family in rural Holly and served three tours in Iraq as an Arabic-proficient CIA analyst, has raised over $2 million and ended March with more cash on hand than Bishop.
The 8th CD combines Republican-leaning areas of Oakland County with the liberal state capital of Lansing. In 2016, it voted for President Trump 51 percent to 44 percent, while Bishop took 56 percent against a young prosecutor who got a late start. But in 2018, Democrats will finally have the resources to litigate Bishop's record, and multiple private surveys depict Bishop in weak shape.
Slotkin will contrast her service in sensitive areas of the world with Bishop's lengthy political career. Prior to his election, Bishop served as majority leader of the state Senate and made several enemies for trying to block construction of a new bridge to Canada at a prominent donor's behest. Democrats will also go after Bishop's votes in favor of the GOP's healthcare and tax bills.
Slotkin's most glaring vulnerability is the "carpetbagging elitist" label: she moved back to Michigan from DC in 2017 after wrapping up her post as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense and hadn't been registered to vote in Michigan since she left for college at Cornell University. But her cash advantage means she'll likely get to define the terms of debate just as much as Bishop. In this environment, it's a Toss Up.
Image: Mike Bishop | Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call