Former Attorney General Bill Schuette (L) and Rep. Dan Kildee (R) | Photos by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images and Susan J. Demas
Updated with additional comments, 10:20 a.m., 11:09 a.m., 1/18/22
GOP former Attorney General Bill Schuette, who lost his 2018 gubernatorial bid, will not challenge U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) in the newly created 8th Congressional District.
Schuette made the announcement Tuesday morning on “The Art Lewis Show” on WSGW. He told Lewis he wanted to break the news on his show given their longstanding friendship.
“I’ve been asked whether I’m going to run for Congress in the 8th District and the answer is no,” he said. “I mean, it’d be fun because I like mixing it up with people. And I like going to chicken dinners, whether it’s Frankenmuth, Bay County, Midland or Genesee.”
The map from Michigan’s new independent redistricting commission — which will go into effect for the 2022 election, barring a successful legal challenge — has set off a scramble among incumbents, many of whom could be pitted against one another. The 8th District includes Genesee and Saginaw counties, parts of Bay County, the city of Midland and parts of Midland County.
Schuette said the new lines drawn by the independent redistricting commission “got totally messed up.” He noted “there’s still some litigation going on, which I think will alter the maps across the state.”
Schuette also opined that the district is “turning more Republican all the time and 2022 is going to be a huge year” for Republicans, predicting the inverse of the midterms of 2018, the year he lost his gubernatorial race.
Schuette previously resided in the 4th Congressional District, which has been represented by his longtime friend, U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland). Moolenaar has said he’s seeking the GOP nomination in the newly drawn 2nd District.
There was a lot of speculation about Schuette running for Congress this year, as he’s been eyeing a comeback since his almost 10-point loss to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer three years ago. He declined to challenge Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, who was nominated by Democrats, in 2020.
Schuette served two terms as AG, was a Court of Appeals judge and is a former member of Congress and the U.S. Senate. He unsuccessfully challenged the late U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Detroit) in 1990.
Meanwhile, a Schuette could be serving in the Michigan House next term. Schuette’s son, Bill G. Schuette, has filed to run as a Republican in the 95th District.
Kildee has been serving in Congress since he succeeded his uncle, the late U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Flint) in 2013. Dan Kildee is dean of the U.S. House Democratic caucus, serves as chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus and is on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Kildee made the announcement he would run in the 8th on Dec. 28.
“It would be my honor to continue serving communities like Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland in Congress,” Kildee said. “My record shows that I can bring Republicans and Democrats together, despite incredible partisanship and polarization, to get things done for mid-Michigan. This year alone, I helped pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, protect the Great Lakes and lower health care costs for Michigan families. There’s more work to do to support Michigan workers and lower everyday costs for families. That’s why I’m running for re-election, so I can continue working on behalf of Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland families in Congress.”
Former TV anchor and Trump immigration official Paul Junge has said he will move into Genesee County to run against Kildee. The Republican lost his 2020 race against U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) in the current 8th District. Slotkin has said she is now running in the new 7th District in 2022.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a release, “Despite their best efforts, national Republicans have failed to recruit Bill Schuette to run for Congress. Even Bill Schuette knows that working families in Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland strongly support Congressman Kildee because he’s a fighter for working people and gets real results.”
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