Not Your Average Democrat: Who is Elissa Slotkin?

One of the Democrats’ candidates in a crucial battleground in the U.S.Congressional elections supports existing gun rights and opposes single payer healthcare.

Elissa Slotkin, 41, is running for Congress in Michigan’s eighth district and is fighting her campaign from what is seen as the right end of the political spectrum of her party.

She will be at the vanguard of Democrats trying to win control of the House of Representatives from the Republicans in November.  

She has a tough battle to unseat two-term Congressman Mike Bishop, who got 56 percent of the vote in 2016 in a district that has both Republican and Democratic counties and stretches from north of Detroit to the state capitol Lansing.

RTX684GN Democratic candidate for Michigan's 8th Congressional District Elissa Slotkin, on her family farm in Holly, Michigan, U.S., April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Before politics, she was a Middle East analyst for the CIA for 14 years and served three tours of Iraq alongside the military.

This was followed by a post at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon which she says has given her a bipartisan approach to national security.

“I am a Midwestern Democrat, which I believe means practical, reasonable, willing to work across the aisle and focused on the economy and the middle class, saving the middle class,” Slotkin told the State News in April.

“I worked for President Bush and President Obama. I had Democratic bosses and Republican bosses. I believe in order to actually get things done, we do need to buckle down and often reach across the aisle."

She has the the support of a loose-knit organization called the Purple Project which is trying to boost grassroots campaigns to unseat Republicans in swing areas in solidly blue states, Reuters reported.

Victories in the parts of the country that have a mixture of Republican and Democratic counties are crucial for the Democrats to re-take the House, since they need to win 23 seats currently held by Republicans in addition to keeping the districts they already hold.

Slotkin said her entry into politics was spurred by seeing the Republicans celebrate after the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare, without a replacement.

“Something just broke in me and I said, ‘No, you do not get to do this,’” Slotkin told the State News.

On her campaign website, she says people should have the choice to buy into plans like Medicare that are proven to control costs. She also says healthcare reform needed to go hand in hand with reforming the prescription drug industry to bringing down costs.

Her family owned guns, and in Iraq she carried a Glock and an M4. She said she believes in the Second Amendment.

"That said, I believe that it is clear we need additional comprehensive background checks. Closing all the loopholes so you can’t avoid a background check … and making sure we are laser focused so that domestic abusers, terrorists on the terrorist watch list and mentally ill people cannot get them,” she said.

She has some key endorsements, such as ex-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, but Kyle Kondik, who studies House races for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics told Reuters: “You might be able to attack Slotkin as not having deep enough roots in the district.”

Another local voter, Blake Lancaster, 74, told the news agency: “I don’t give her much of a chance, but it’s good to have her there and maybe she’ll take a bite out of Bishop’s vote.”