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Rep. Elissa Slotkin reelected to third term in House of Representatives

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Arjun Thakkar
/
WKAR-MSU
Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin held a press conference Wednesday at her campaign’s headquarters in East Lansing. She says her win is a sign of residents voting against divisive politics and for bipartisanship.

Incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin has won a third term in Congress, defeating Republican state Senator Tom Barrett.

The Associated Press called Michigan’s 7th congressional district race for Slotkin early Wednesday morning. She currently holds a 5.2% lead over her opponent.

Elissa Slotkin ran her campaign on a platform of lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs, investing in the U.S. supply chain and protecting abortion rights.

The newly drawn 7th congressional district stretches across parts of seven mid-Michigan counties. Both Slotkin and Barrett sought to court new voters and pitch themselves as independent, principled members of their respective political parties.

In the end, it seems Slotkin's message won over more voters. The congresswoman held a press conference the day after the election at her campaign’s headquarters in East Lansing. She says her win is a sign of residents voting against divisive politics and for bipartisanship.

“Voters here know that there's nothing more American than debating the role of government in our lives," Slotkin said. "But we can do that without seeing the other person as an enemy.”

Though the race grew heated in its closing weeks, drawing over $36 million ad spending that made it the most expensive congressional race in the country, its conclusion was relatively cordial.

Slotkin says Barrett called her Wednesday morning to concede the race. She says their conversation was brief but polite as they acknowledged how tough the race was for both of them.

The morning of the election, Barrett was optimistic about his chances of winning. He said the momentum was going in his direction and he was excited to see the results.

While the state senator is a conservative, he recognized that working in government requires collaboration, even with those who have different political beliefs.

"We all have our different perspectives," Barrett said. "That's why we have electoral process. And that's a good thing for our countries to have people with different perspectives, run and compete to have their ideas be represented in Washington, and people can choose when they make their vote which perspective they agree with."

Supporters of Slotkin were optimistic at her election night watch party in East Lansing. The campaign shared updates throughout the night that showed the congresswoman overperforming in key municipalities relative to congressional Democrats in 2020.

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Arjun Thakkar
/
WKAR-MSU
Slotkin speaks with her supporters on the night of the election in East Lansing.

The crowd broke into applause when they announced Slotkin had won Howell by 13 votes.

Speaking at her campaign headquarters in East Lansing Wednesday afternoon, Slotkin said her focus on developing industry and economic opportunity resonated with voters on the campaign trail.

“You're not going to win elections in the state if you can't offer voters a positive vision for the future," Slotkin said. "And fundamental to that positive vision is explaining in clear terms, what you think the economic vision is, for the future of work in our state.”

The race drew national attention, with multiple high-profile figures weighing in on the candidates.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney campaigned with Slotkin in East Lansing the week before the election. Former Vice President Mike Pence made an appearance in Charlotte days later to support Barrett.

The congresswoman’s successful reelection bid is crucial for the Democratic Party’s goal to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. As of Wednesday evening, it remains unclear which party will control both chambers of Congress next year.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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