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UAW endorses McDonald Rivet in Michigan's 8th Congressional District race

State Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) talks with reporters after a vote on a bill to support solar power production on farmland.
Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio Network
Michigan state Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) has won the influential UAW endorsement in the race to fill Michigan’s toss-up 8th Congressional District seat.

State Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet has won the influential United Auto Workers endorsement in the Democratic primary to fill Michigan’s 8th Congressional District – an election that is one of the most closely watched in the country.

McDonald Rivet, who is in her first Senate term, is part of a crowded Democratic field that also includes Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, Michigan State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh and Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director Dan Moilanen.

“It’s a primary where it’s loaded with friends of labor, but it was the time to get into this race, support the candidate who was the very best candidate out of all of them, and her electability was absolutely part of it,” UAW Region 1-D Director Steve Dawes told Michigan Public Radio. “And we are committed to do whatever we can do to help her win this seat and keep it Democratic.”

The stakes are high.

There are just six votes currently separating the House Republican majority from the Democratic minority, with three vacancies.

The Cook Political Report says Michigan’s 8th House District is statistically one of the most evenly divided in the nation between Democrats and Republicans. The pending retirement of incumbent Representative Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) moved Cook’s rating from “leans Democratic” to “tossup.”

UAW Region 1-D covers 73 Michigan counties. Dawes said there are about 15,000 UAW members in the 8th District.

Former TV journalist and 2022 U.S. House candidate Paul Junge and trucking company owner Anthony Hudson are the only announced candidates for the Republican nomination. Junge lost a bid to unseat Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) in 2022. Slotkin is seeking the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination this year.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.