Latest rumor: Eaton County GOP senator might move to 8th District to run against Slotkin

State Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville

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The 2020 primary is less than a year away, and 8th Congressional District Republicans still haven’t found a candidate to run against first-term U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly. But there’s an intriguing new possibility.

The seat, which covers all of Livingston and Ingham counties and part of northern Oakland County, was held by the Republicans for nearly 20 years until Slotkin flipped it in 2018.

The latest rumor out of Lansing says that the Republicans might be looking outside the 8th District for their candidate.

Lansing-based MIRS news service is reporting that Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, might be looking to move into the 8th District to run for the seat.

Barrett didn’t confirm it and didn’t deny it when asked by MIRS, saying only, “I love serving in the state Senate and appreciate the responsibility the voters have placed in me.”

Barrett is reportedly considering a move to Williamston – the only city that’s in both his Senate district and the 8th Congressional District. By law, a candidate doesn’t need to live in a Congressional district to run there, but it’s doubtful any major-party nominee would try to run that way.

Barrett’s possible candidacy comes as other possible candidates are either passing or aren’t committing to it yet.

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, the person Slotkin beat in 2018, is rumored to be interested in running for Oakland County executive instead. State Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton Township, is saying she’s not going to run for the Congressional seat, while former State Sen. Joe Hune, R-Fowlerville, is also said to be not interested.

Residency issues aside, Barrett would be an attractive candidate for the GOP for several reasons. He served in the U.S. Army for 19 years, including stints in Iraq and Kuwait. And he’s originally from Oakland County, so he has some name recognition there.

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