“A third-generation Michigander, Elissa Slotkin learned the values of integrity and decency that drive her deep sense of service to our country and her community,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “Elissa served three tours in Iraq with the CIA and served as a national security expert for both Democratic and Republican administrations. Elissa has always put service to country ahead of partisan politics, and she’s bringing that same laser-focused approach to fix Washington and tackle rising healthcare and prescription drug costs.”
To: Interested Parties
From: Rachel Irwin, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: August 7, 2018
RE: The Case Against Mike Bishop
Elissa Slotkin’s commanding primary victory in Michigan’s 8th District sets up a competitive race with Rep. Mike Bishop, who after 20 years as a career politician has become a part of the Washington swamp.
Slotkin is a political outsider whose entire life has been defined by service to her country. She’s a national security leader who served three tours overseas in Iraq with the CIA and served in the administrations of both parties, giving her bipartisan credentials in a year when voters are tired of partisan games.
In her first run for public office, Slotkin is changing the rules of the game, refusing to take corporate PAC money and putting career politicians on notice for a broken Washington that rewards donors over everyday people. There’s no greater example of that than Mike Bishop, who has become the poster child of a corrupt politician who serves his donors first.
Bishop’s race against Slotkin will be the toughest race of his career. For the first time, Bishop will have to defend his long track record of prioritizing his campaign donors ahead of his constituents, and the votes he’s taken that have a real, harmful impact on the lives of everyday Michiganders.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Detroit Free Press (Editorial): “Elissa Slotkin is among the most well-qualified newcomers running in any congressional contest this year, and we recommend her enthusiastically to Democratic primary voters in Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District.” [Detroit Free Press (Editorial), 7/27/18]
Newsweek Headline: “Not Your Average Democrat: Who Is Elissa Slotkin?”
“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.” [Newsweek, 6/9/18]
NBC News: “Slotkin is laser-focused on kitchen table issues.” [NBC News, 6/11/18]
NBC News: “Slotkin insists that Bishop’s record on health care, including more than $100,000 in campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry over his career, is a vulnerability. Michigan is the only state with a law that shields drug companies from being sued, even if they have marketed drugs proven to be dangerous, and, in some cases, deadly. As a state Senate leader, Bishop blocked a vote to repeal it five times.” [NBC News, 6/11/18]
MSNBC Headline: “Dem House Candidate: Congress has forgotten ‘First and only job’” “Fmr CIA analyst & Asst. Secy. Of Defense Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) on the importance of bipartisanship” [MSNBC, 10/19/17]
BISHOP’S SELF-SERVING RECORD HURTS EVERYDAY MICHIGANDERS
Slotkin Takes on Rising Healthcare Costs, while Bishop Bankrolled by PHARMA, Insurance Companies
Slotkin made the decision to run for Congress after she saw Bishop celebrating his vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in the White House Rose Garden. Slotkin’s mother passed away from ovarian cancer in 2011 and she struggled to afford health coverage because she had a “pre-existing condition” after surviving breast cancer as a young mom. As Slotkin told CNN of Bishop’s healthcare vote: “Something just broke for me. It was the absolute straw that broke the camel’s back,” remembered Slotkin. Talking to the image of her smiling congressman on TV, “I said, ‘you do not get to do this.’ I decided to try and fire him.”
While Slotkin is running to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, Bishop has served his donors, in particular the pharmaceutical industry. After taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance companies, Bishop voted to raise costs, allow insurance companies to charge an age tax on older Americans, and weaken protections for those with pre-existing conditions, like cancer. This is a trend over the course of his career. Rep. Bishop’s actions, from the state legislature to Congress, have rewarded pharmaceutical companies while hurting Michiganders back home.
There’s no greater example of that than Bishop’s role in blocking a repeal of Michigan’s immunity law that shields drug companies from liability. As Sen. Majority Leader, Bishop personally blocked a vote to repeal the law that prevents Michiganders from being able to sue drug companies when their drugs prove to be dangerous. Bishop continues to be rewarded for his role, having taken more than $100K from drug companies to date.
Bishop’s GOP Tax Scam Puts Donors Ahead of Everyday Michiganders
Bishop’s loyalty to pharmaceutical companies over the years is clear with his vote for the GOP Tax Scam. As drug companies continue to make billions in profit, Bishop voted to cut their taxes by more than $40 billion, while doing nothing to reduce rising prescription drug costs. And while Bishop’s donors win, middle class Michiganders and seniors pay the price.
Bishop’s GOP Tax Scam gives more than 80% of its benefits to the wealthiest 1% of Americans and a huge handout to large corporations. The bill even incentivizes corporations to ship jobs overseas, all while making millions of middle class families pay more over time.
Bishop’s partisan vote adds trillions of dollars to the deficit and risks major cuts to Social Security and Medicare. That won’t bode well with Michigan seniors who want an advocate who will fight to lower prescription drug costs and protect Social Security and Medicare, not sell out to their big donors.
Bishop’s Loyalty to Donors Hurts Michigan Families
In his 20 years in politics, Mike Bishop’s made plenty of friends in power to keep him in office. And while he rarely holds public meetings or events, he’s made plenty of time for his campaign donors.
Bishop has taken tens of thousands of dollars from the anti-public education DeVos family, then pushed to pass a bill funding the for-profit charter schools that Betsy DeVos champions, and called Betsy DeVos an “inspired choice” for Education Secretary.
Bishop, who’s been dubbed “Matty Moroun’s man in Congress,” was a key ally in delaying a new bridge to Canada that would have competed with Moroun’s Ambassador Bridge and created 35,000 Michigan jobs. Just this year, the Morouns gave $100K to boost Bishop’s re-election campaign.
THE PATH TO VICTORY
Slotkin’s service record and bipartisan credentials make her a formidable candidate against Bishop in a year when voters are looking for a better direction. While the district is typically Republican-leaning, it has been favorable to Democrats in the past. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow routinely win this district, and President Obama won here in 2008. It also has key pockets of suburban Detroit voters and college students who are trending toward Democrats in a tough national environment for Republicans.
It’s not just Slotkin’s profile, but the strong race she is running on the ground as Bishop remains flat-footed. Slotkin has over 1,000 volunteers signed up to work on her campaign and has outraised Bishop every single quarter she’s been in the race. In the most recent quarter, she raised $1.1 million and surpassed Bishop’s cash on hand earlier this year, while refusing to take a dime from corporate PACs. Bishop has never faced a challenger with more than one million dollars in the bank, and Slotkin’s well-funded campaign gives her the resources needed to tell her story of service.
Election forecasters have been quick to shift this race in favor of Democrats, with Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and CNN all moving this race to toss-up thanks to Slotkin’s strength. Saying of the race, “Democrats will finally have the resources to litigate Bishop’s record, and multiple private surveys depict Bishop in weak shape.”
Slotkin has proven she has the right priorities. She’s crisscrossed the district discussing ways to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs, bringing local leaders together to tackle the opioid epidemic, and making infrastructure and workforce development a cornerstone of her campaign. The contrast with Bishop’s priorities couldn’t be clearer given Bishop’s long track record of serving his donors while making it harder for Michiganders to get ahead.
The people of Michigan’s 8th District will have a clear choice in Elissa Slotkin, who represents a different type of candidate who will bring a fresh approach and new energy to fix a corrupt Washington that serves Mike Bishop and his donors.