- Former Macomb County Circuit Judge Carl Marlinga, a Democrat, has announced his 2024 bid to unseat Republican Rep. John James of Michigan.
- Marlinga’s nomination would set up a rematch between him and James, who narrowly defeated him in 2022 for the same suburban Detroit seat.
- Marlinga, whose campaign platform focuses on the economy, abortion rights and protecting the Great Lakes, claimed in a statement that congressional newcomer James is “out of step with our community.”
The hotly contested House race in Michigan, which national Democrats are eyeing to help them flip the chamber in 2024, is becoming increasingly crowded after Carl Marlinga announced Thursday that he will run against Republican U.S. Rep. John James again for the seat Seat will challenge.
Marlinga’s 2024 campaign in Michigan’s 10th congressional district, announced in a press release to The Associated Press, comes after the Democrat lost by half a percentage point last year to James, who had a significant fundraising advantage.
By rematching James in the north Detroit suburb, Marlinga is hoping to continue his party’s recent winning streak in Michigan. Democrats have taken control of the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature for the first time in decades, although they fell 1,600 votes short of claiming the 10th District in 2022.
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National Democrats have already said they will target the Republican seat next year to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Republicans have a 10-seat majority.
A former Macomb County judge and prosecutor, Marlinga beat four other Democrats to win the party’s nomination last year. He said in a statement that his campaign this year will focus on growing the economy, protecting the Great Lakes and advocating for abortion rights. He attacked James, saying the Republican was “not in tune with our community.”
Before a rematch with James, Marlinga must first escape a primary that is expected to get crowded. Diane Young, a Macomb County financial planner, has already secured a number of endorsements, including one from prominent state Sen. Mallory McMorrow.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of House Democrats, said the district is one of 31 seats that Republicans are “aggressively targeting” in 2024. They are also seeking an open seat in Michigan’s 7th District after Elissa Slotkin announced a run for the U.S. Senate.
Michigan Republicans have struggled to win both state and congressional elections in recent years. Last year, the Democrats won statewide races, swapped the House of Representatives and state Senate, and won three out of four US House races in what was expected to be tough competition.
While turmoil within the state party is expected to continue, Michigan Republicans are hoping a high-profile race for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat will help candidates further down the ticket next year. While Donald Trump won the state in 2016, Joe Biden won it in 2020 by nearly 3%.
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James has long been considered a rising star in the Republican Party and was considered a leading contender to run for an open U.S. Senate seat in the state before announcing in February that he would run again for the House of Representatives.
However, the 42-year-old Republican has struggled to win elections in a state that is increasingly pro-Democratic. James lost the 2018 and 2020 US Senate elections before narrowly winning the House of Representatives race while enjoying significant notoriety and fundraising advantages.
In a statement, Will Reinert, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, criticized Marlinga’s “disgusting record” as prosecutor, which “will be on full display if voters reject him again.”
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Marlinga was Macomb County’s elected prosecutor for 20 years until he was indicted in 2004 for helping a man get a new rape trial in exchange for contributions to Marlinga’s failed 2002 congressional campaign. A federal jury acquitted Marlinga in 2006.