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Negative messages being tested in 8th


Watch out!

The mud is going to fly in this emerging 8th Congressional District race.

A caller identifying herself as being from the “Bernett Group” was conducting an extensive telephone survey last weekend in which she asked respondents to opine on various lines of attack that could be leveled at presumed General Election candidates U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, and Elissa Slotkin, the leading Democratic candidate.

Before testing the various messages, however, the surveyor — who didn’t disclose for whom the polling was being done — did ask respondents their thoughts on the other Democrat in the race, progressive Chris Smith of East Lansing, but not the other Republican in the race, Lokesh Kumar of Lansing.

For Bishop, the lines of attack included that:

— As a state legislator, Bishop took campaign contributions from Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun and held up construction of a second bridge to Canada.

— He’s taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry as he continued his support for slant drilling under the Great Lakes.

— He’s taken campaign cash from the pharmaceutical industry and stood in the way, as a legislator, of ending Michigan’s single-state drug immunity statute that bans civil suits against U.S. FDA-approved medicines that end up harming people. — As a member of Congress he’s been virtually invisible in the district and been generally inaccessible to constituents.

For Sloktin, the lines of attack include that:

— She’s the hand-picked plant of U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who’s never voted in the 8th Congressional District, let alone served in an official capacity here before.

— She’s not committed to the district, because she and her husband don’t own property in the 8th District and still keep a home in D.C. that they recently claimed a homestead exemption for.

— U.S. Sen. John McCain called her “totally unqualified” and questioned her ability to answer questions during a 2014 confirmation hearing in front of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, at which she was testifying as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

The lines of attack were equally strong between Bishop and Slotkin, so it’s hard to say for whom the results are being given, whether it’s from one of the campaigns, a caucus campaign committee or an interested third party.

Needless to say, the results of surveys like this will dictate the tenor of the mail, T.V. ads and radio ads we’ll be experiencing in the months to come.

White House quotes Bishop The day after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, the White House gave voice to more than 60 members of Congress, but only one from Michigan. Yup, it was Mike Bishop.

“This deal was flawed from the beginning, allowing Iran to continue their destabilizing activities in the region, all while sun-setting the nuclear prohibition provisions. I hope today’s action will lead to a better, stronger agreement that will ensure security for our allies and stability in the Middle East.”

The day before Slotkin, a former CIO official and acting assistant secretary of defense, issued a statement on Iran in which she referenced her “first-hand” experience in seeing Iran’s “underhanded behavior in the Middle East.”

“I would have applauded additional agreements and addendums that built on top of the nuclear deal, and that dealt more firmly with Iran’s ballistic missile program and systematic use of terrorism. There is certainly more work to be done on both scores,” said Slotkin.

“But instead, the Administration let politics dictate national security. Instead of leveraging the President’s threats to get additional agreements and concessions from Iran and the Europeans, he sent a team to sit on their hands and wasted leverage. And in one fell swoop, the US has made clear to both our friends and adversaries that a deal we sign isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

Slotkin, Smith differ on guns In the days following the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas, it may be worth a reminder that Slotkin and Smith are not ideological soulmates when it comes to several issues, one of which is guns.

According to a local radio account, Smith said at a candidate forum in Hamburg Township earlier this spring that he would vote for a ban on private ownership of AR-15 assault rifles with some stipulations. Slotkin said she would not.

Movement In 7th District Democratic congressional candidate Gretchen Driskell sent out a fundraising email this week declaring that her 7th Congressional District seat was one of 19 U.S. seats that moved a little further into the Democratic column, according to an Inside Elections analysis.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg’s district is still classified with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton’s 6th District as “likely Republican,” but trending Democratic. The 8th District is listed as “lean Republican” and the 11th Congressional District in Oakland and Wayne counties was the only Michigan seat to be declared a “toss up.”

(Kyle Melinn, the news editor of the capital newsletter MIRS, is at melinnky @gmail.com.)


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