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Party Switcher Launches Bid to Succeed Kildee

Former Democratic state Rep. Jim Slezak will run for retiring Rep. Dale Kildee’s Michigan seat as a Republican.

Although the 5th district has a strong Democratic tilt, Slezak’s bid adds a surprising twist to the already crowded contest to succeed the 18-term Democrat.

“I don’t think President [Barack] Obama has lived up to any of the policies he talked about in his campaign,” Slezak said in an online video announcing his bid. “When you go to be a public servant, you’re there to serve others. And I think it’s everybody’s obligation to step up at one point in their life, and this is my time.”

Several Democrats have already expressed interest in running for the nomination, including former Rep. Jim Barcia, state Sen. John Gleason, Michigan Education Association organizer David Crim and Kildee’s nephew, former Genesee County official Dan Kildee.

Republicans controlled the redistricting process in Michigan, but they didn’t change much about the 5th district. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would have taken just 35 percent in the redrawn 5th district, according to data obtained by Roll Call.

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