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Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin announces bid for Senate in Michigan

Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan officially launched her bid for the state’s open Senate seat on Monday, jumping into one of the most closely watched races of 2024.

“Look, we all know America is going through something right now,” Slotkin said in the video. “We seem to be living crisis-to-crisis.”

In the ad, Slotkin highlighted her time in the U.S. military, working for the CIA and for the Bush and Obama administrations. 

Michigan’s longtime Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, 72, announced earlier this year that she would not seek reelection. Stabenow’s call for a “new generation of leaders” was echoed by Slotkin in her campaign video. 

Elissa Slotkin Holds Press Conference In East Lansing One Day After Election Win
Rep. Elissa Slotkin speaks to reporters at a press conference on Nov. 9, 2022, in East Lansing, Michigan.

BRANDON BELL / Getty Images

Stabenow’s decision not to run again fueled speculation about who might run to replace her, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who recently moved to Michigan, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Rep. Haley Stevens said over the past few weeks that they would not seek the seat.

Before Slotkin was elected to Congress, she was a Middle East analyst in the CIA and went to Iraq with the U.S. military for three tours as a militia expert. She also worked in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was an acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. 

Slotkin was first elected to Michigan’s 7th Congressional District in 2018 and won reelection twice, including a tough campaign last year against Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett, who denied the results of the 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump flipped Michigan red in 2016 but the state went for President Biden in 2020. In 2022, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer led a slate of statewide Democrats to victory in Michigan, in an election with the largest turnout in a midterm year in history. 

While Democrats managed to pick up a Senate seat in 2022, increasing their majority to 51-49, the seats up in 2024 are far less favorable to the party. Democrats will be forced to defend 24 seats, including in Republican-leaning states like Montana, West Virginia and Ohio. Republicans are defending only 10 seats in red states. 

Although Slotkin hung on to her battleground seat in the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans picked up enough seats to take a narrow majority in the House. Slotkin’s entry into the Senate race opens up a battleground seat for House Republicans in 2024. 

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.


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