New Analysis Tips 8th District Away From Bishop
July 25, 2018
Another analysis of Michigan's 8th District indicates it may be part of a wave that could bring a Democrat into the seat for the first time in almost 20 years.
On Tuesday, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan political analysis newsletter run by the University of Virginia Center for Politics, shifted the 8th District from “Leans Republican” to “Toss Up,” one of 17 race changes it made this week, all of which benefited Democrats. In fact, the newsletter said, “Democrats are now a little better than 50-50 to win the House,” noting that it was the first time this cycle they’ve gone beyond 50-50 odds on a House turnover. Sabato writes that Bishop is facing a, "seemingly high-quality Democratic challenger" in Democrat Elissa Slotkin, who he says, "has been crushing Bishop in fundraising so badly that she holds a $2.2 million to $1.7 million cash on hand advantage, an unusual edge for a challenger to hold on an incumbent. Both districts have above-average college graduation rates, often a predictor of Trump skepticism that could have down-ballot repercussions."
The prediction follows a similar designation of “Toss Up” from the Cook Political Report earlier this month and from CNN’s nonpartisan election forecasters in March.
In response, Bishop Campaign spokesman Stu Sandler reiterated their narrative that Slotkin’s move back to Michigan last year means she doesn’t truly represent the interests of the district. “Mike Bishop is in a strong position to win the district that he serves and where he has been a lifelong resident. Elissa Slotkin is being funded by coastal elites from New York and California in a district where she doesn't own a home, and her vote for herself in the primary will be her first vote in the district ever."
But Laura Epstein, Slotkin’s spokesperson, said their experience tells a different story. “Elissa joined the CIA after 9/11 and is proud of her service to our country, which included three tours in Iraq alongside our military and serving under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Elissa is running a powerful grassroots campaign and has the support of more than 5,000 individual donors from Michigan, unlike Rep. Bishop, who raises most of his campaign funds from corporate PACs. The enthusiasm on the ground is real, marked by more than a thousand volunteers who have signed up to support Elissa in this campaign.”
Slotkin is not the only Democrat running for the 8th District nomination. MSU instructor Chris Smith of East Lansing touts himself as a non-establishment, progressive. He says, “the new analysis simply reflects the reality of public dissatisfaction with Bishop's lack of independence and his failure to devote himself to the interests of the 8th district's residents” adding that despite Bishop taking $1.4 million from Political Action Committees during this election cycle, “outside observers clearly have questions about whether his money can make up for his lack of a defensible record, even in a district that was gerrymandered to protect his job.”
Bishop also has a primary challenger; Lansing businessman Lokesh Kumar. (JK)