Slotkin touts Hertel as possible congressional successor  ⋆

In an address Friday night to Livingston County Democrats, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) discussed her upcoming U.S. senatorial campaign and backed former state Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) as a potential candidate to replace her in the 7th Congressional District in 2024.

Slotkin spoke at the annual Winans Dinner at the Lakelands Golf and Country Club in Brighton, which is sponsored by the Livingston County Democratic Party. She is not running for reelection next year in the mid-Michigan district and is instead vying to replace U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing).

Other Democrats running for the seat are State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, businessman Nasser Beydoun, attorney Zack Burns and former state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit). Republicans who have declared are Nikki Snyder, a member of the State Board of Education; attorney Alexandria Taylor, who has represented Michigan GOP Chair Kristina Karamo; former Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott; and  Michael Hoover, who used to work for Dow Chemical Co.

Hertel has not declared for Congress yet. The former Ingham County register of deeds served as a state senator for Michigan’s 23rd District from 2015 to 2022. Upon terming out of office, he went on to serve as the director of legislative affairs for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a position he still holds.

Great to spend the evening with @SenStabenow and @RepSlotkin and the Livingston County Democrats!

— Curtis Hertel (@CurtisHertelJr) June 17, 2023

Slotkin said when she decided to run for the U.S. House six years ago, she was relatively unknown with very few connections. Since then, she’s been able to connect with many in the community, networking and working with constituents to address their priorities and needs. 

Slotkin also urged the community to support Hertel and get to know him, talk to him and welcome him in the same fashion they had welcomed her six years ago.

Hertel, Slotkin noted, has deep familial ties to Michigan politics and public service, as well as a personal dedication to the regional community. A member of the Hertel family, a Democratic dynasty, Hertel is the son of former House Speaker Curtis Hertel Sr. and the brother of Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores).

Michigan’s 7th District is considered a toss-up and key to the control of Congress, so there’s been no shortage of speculation about who could succeed Slotkin in campaigning for the House of Representatives.

On the Republican side, former state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) has announced his candidacy after losing to Slotkin in 2022. 

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, a Democratic former state House member, had considered a candidacy but announced this month she would not run.

“I have come to the decision that, while I know I would be an effective member of Congress, my passion is with elections and voter engagement. I believe the voters need me to remain here to stand up against the election misinformation and disinformation and ensure their access to the ballot box,” Byrum said in a statement.

A version of this story first appeared on the Mike and Jon podcast site. Advance Editor Susan J. Demas contributed reporting.

authored by Leah Craig
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