Rep. Elissa Slotkin held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon following her early morning congressional race win over Republican challenger Tom Barrett. Slotkin’s victory will allow her to serve a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Barrett called Slotkin to concede following the Associated Press call of the race after 3 a.m. Slotkin said it was a “brief,” “polite” and “very respectful” conversation.
The contest was the second most expensive race in the country, according to tracking by OpenSecrets. A combined total of over $37 million was spent to win Michigan’s new 7th Congressional District.
“It looks like our margin is going to be over five percentage points, so more than 20,000 votes … That's the biggest margin of victory we've ever had,” Slotkin said. “This is tough turf for a Democrat. And that means there is no way to win this race without building a very broad coalition of Democrats, independents and Republicans, a coalition of decent, reasonable, pragmatic Michiganders who still vote a person over the party.”
In counties like Clinton and Shiawassee, where Barrett won, Slotkin said she “lost better” than in previous races.
Slotkin, formerly a CIA analyst and Pentagon official, promoted bipartisanship throughout her campaign – securing an endorsement from the Republican U.S. Rep Liz Cheney. Slotkin said that Michiganders are tired of dirty and toxic politics and emphasized the importance of working together.
“I hope that Michigan is the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country and that it's the beginning of a statement that the politics of division will not cut it anymore,” Slotkin said. “I hope that, as a swing state, we've sent the message very loud and clear that until and unless the Republican Party nominates more reasonable and less extreme candidates, they're going to lose and lose at the ballot box.”
Hundreds of MSU students waited in an hours long line at Brody Hall to vote on Tuesday night. The last student cast his vote after waiting until 11:30 p.m., over three hours after polls officially closed, according to Lansing State Journal.
Slotkin gave a “special shout out” to these students. This turnout, she said, was the fruition of the same-day registration and voting measures that were on the ballot in 2018.
“As of right now, we think about 3,000 students voted yesterday in this race, helping expand my margin of victory significantly,” Slotkin said. “The overwhelming motivating force to wait in line up to four hours was voting ‘yes’ on Proposition 3.”
One mile away, Slotkin held a viewing party at the Graduate Hotel in East Lansing on Election Night. She chose this location to honor and include the “great organization” of student voting on campus.
“We wanted to make sure that connection to MSU was very clear, and that meant proximity to campus and getting our state students here to party,” Slotkin said.
Slotkin said residents are waking up in a “very different moment” today after a predicted “red wave” – a large margin of Republican victory – didn’t occur. However, she said she is waiting with “bated breath” for the results of the overall Senate and House races.
“I thank (the 7th District) for being engaged citizens who care about their community and their country and voted in production,” Slotkin said. “And I commit to doing everything in my power to being that principled leader that you deserve.”
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