Key Michigan Democrat has a narrow lead — but upcoming midterm will be a 'nail-biter'
Elissa Slotkin, D- Mich., speaks before President Joe Biden at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 on Oct. 5, 2021, in Howell, Michigan. - Elaine Cromie/Getty Images North America/TNS

On Friday, MLive profiled the state of the race in Michigan's 7th Congressional District, the Lansing-based seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin — where she currently holds a modest lead, but experts believe the contest will come down to a "nail-biter."

"Heading into the November midterms, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin is in as good a place as she’s ever been with polling data indicating a moderate lead over her Republican challenger, state Sen. Tom Barrett," reported Jordyn Hermani. "But organizations like the non-partisan newsletter Cook Political Report put the district as a toss-up as of Sept. 6, 2022, meaning that even with a small lead Slotkin, D-Lansing, should expect a tough fight on Nov 8."

Slotkin, a former CIA officer who served in the State Department for the Obama administration, was one of the members swept into office as part of the 2018 Democratic wave election.

"Slotkin is running for a third term in office in a district that has traditionally put her at a slimmer margin of success over her Republican challengers. That, however, was prior to the state’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission adopting new boundary lines for state and federal office in 2021," said the report. "The redrawn district contains Clinton, Ingham, Livingston and Shiawassee counties, along with most of Eaton County, parts of Genesee and Oakland counties and the state’s capitol, Lansing. Data from the 2020 presidential election indicates that of those jurisdictions, there is a slight Democratic tilt to the area, with voters backing President Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump by just half a percentage point."

Barrett started off the cycle with aggressive culture war engagement, at one point even warning donors in fundraising emails that "Your Child" is scheduled to receive "Gender Reassignment Surgery Tomorrow at 9 AM," and you must contribute to his campaign to cancel the appointment. He has tried to back off somewhat since the Supreme Court's ruling that lets states prohibit abortion, even deleting the entire "Values" section from his campaign website.

"Polling published by Politico in June indicated that Barrett was poised to flip the district back red with the help of a slim margin of undecided or independent voters leaning in his favor; but more recent data suggests that lead is now nowhere near what it was in the summer, with the polling website FiveThirtyEight putting Slotkin as winning the contest 75 times out of 100," said the report. "Further polling from the group Target Insyght also indicated Slotkin has a commanding lead over Barrett by roughly 18 percentage points. That poll, as reported by the Detroit Free Press, had Slotkin ahead in late September by 56%-38%, in a poll of 500 voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points."

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