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8th congressional district candidate adding endorsements from prominent Democratic supporters

State Se. Kristen McDonald Rivet (at podium) stands with elected Democratic officials in Genesee County and local union leaders at a campaign event
Steve Carmody
Michigan Public
State Se. Kristen McDonald Rivet (at podium) stands with elected Democratic officials in Genesee County and local union leaders at a campaign event

A Democratic candidate for Michigan’s eighth congressional district has picked up some key endorsements Monday. Meanwhile, another Democratic hopeful contends party insiders in Michigan are tilting the field at the expense of candidates of color.

State Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) has been collecting endorsements from prominent Democrats since announcing her campaign. Monday, she added to her tally at a union hall in Genesee County, with several county Democrats and union leaders voicing their support for her.

“This is the coalition that’s going to send Kristen McDonald Rivet to Washington D.C.,” said State Rep. Jasper Martus (D-Flushing).

McDonald Rivet says she’s proud of the coalition her campaign is building.

“We’ve done it one person at a time,” said McDonald Rivet, “And that’s actually the success we’re going to need in order to win this campaign.”

McDonald Rivet is in a four-way race for the Democratic nomination in the eighth congressional district.

State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, environmentalist Dan Moilanen and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley are also expressing interest in replacing retiring Congressman Dan Kildee.

The official filing deadline for the August primary is still two months away.

Mayor Neeley recently penned an Op Ed in the Michigan Chronicle in which he complains Democratic Party insiders are leaving out Black voters. Specifically, Neeley contends there’s a “glass ceiling…(blocking) experienced and well-qualified Black Democratic candidates from reaching elected office at the federal level.”

“That really speaks to really the experience that African-Americans have…and people of color have,” said Neeley, “And that’s why you have such a level of voter apathy in these spaces where you don’t see a level of inclusion.”

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson was one of the Democratic Party leaders announcing his support for McDonald Rivet Monday.

Swanson said he was approached by each of the four Democrats seeking his support, but ultimately decided to back McDonald Rivet.

“I look at pathways…relationships,” said Swanson, “ I’m confident she has the pathway to at least get to the general.”

Small business owner Anthony Hudson and 20-22 Republican nominee Paul Junge are running for the GOP nomination in the August primary.

Michigan’s eighth congressional district race is expected to be one of the most competitive and potentially expensive congressional races in the U.S.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.