TURNING TIDES


With all the talk of a projected 2022 Republican Congressional sweep, it has local political wonks wondering what can potentially happen to current congressional folk, especially those who were elected in the Democratic wave of 2018. The increasing buzz in Republican corners is that twice-failed GOP candidate John James of Farmington Hills may finally find his ticket to the big top by running against Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Troy, western Oakland and Wayne counties) in whatever reconfigured Oakland district she runs in. One top Republican said he believes James “could take out Stevens.” As a reminder, James came within six points when he challenged Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018, and within two points against Democratic Senator Gary Peters in 2020. The third time could be the charm – or the death knell to his political ambitions. As for fellow Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Rochester, Rochester Hills, northern Oakland, parts of Livingston and Ingham counties), who has announced she will run in a Lansing-based district, state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) is looking to flip her seat. Like Slotkin, he’s a veteran – but unlike Slotkin, who is considered a Washington centrist and is a former CIA agent, Barrett has been a vocal opponent of Biden’s COVID vaccine policy and mask efforts and Whitmer’s COVID closures. There are differing opinions on Barrett among Republicans, with one in leadership claiming, “Barrett is a boy scout. He’s a clean as it gets. He could take down Slotkin.” But local clerks around the state, some of whom are Republicans, are not fans. One Republican clerk, who declined to be quoted, upon hearing he was running, said, “Really?!” and noted he had not been supportive of election changes clerks had requested.

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