Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin's decision to run for Senate gives her party a top recruit as it looks to defend a key seat in that chamber next fall.
But the move also leaves the party forced to compete in an open House seat instead of leaning on one of their top incumbents — all in one of the nation's most evenly divided districts.
After redistricting created new congressional lines for the 2022 election, Slotkin won her seat over Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett by more than 5%.
While that might not seem like a very close race on the surface, Michigan's 7th District is one of just seven where the 2020 presidential margin was within 1 percentage point in either direction, according to a Daily Kos Elections analysis of congressional districts. That's one main reason why the race drew about $37 million in ad spending, more than every House race in the country except one, per the ad-tracking firm AdImpact.
And despite the virtually even political divide in Michigan's 7th, at least according to 2020 presidential numbers, Slotkin was able to defeat Barrett by that 5-point margin. So with no incumbent, and Barrett reportedly looking at running again, this race is likely to be one of the most competitive battlegrounds of the 2024 battle for the House.