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Former Republican state lawmaker plans to run for 5th congressional district nomination

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A former Republican state lawmaker plans to challenge Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee this fall.

Tim Kelly says he plans to launch his campaign soon for the GOP nomination in the 5th Congressional District.  

Kelly served six years in the state Legislature, where he chaired the state House Education Committee. He also served on the Saginaw County Commission. Kelly was nominated to fill a federal education post, but the nomination was eventually withdrawn.

Kelly says it’s time to end the Kildee family’s hold on the congressional seat representing Flint, Saginaw and Bay City.

“It’s time that the voters of the 5th District had another choice than one from a family that’s... reigned over the district for the last 43 years,” says Kelly.

Dan Kildee was first elected to Congress in 2012, after his uncle Dale Kildee retired. The elder Kildee served 18 terms in Washington.

As Chief Deputy Whip, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) is a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team.  

Kelly believes with President Donald Trump at the top of the ballot in November, a Republican candidate can win a congressional district drawn to favor Democrats. 

In 2016, Trump won five of the six counties that make up the 5th Congressional District.

“I assume if the election were held today, not only would he win those five counties again, but I think (he) would take a particularly good shot at Genesee County this time around,” says Kelly.

Kildee supporters disagree.  

"Congressman Kildee has gotten real results for mid-Michigan. He's secured aid to help replace Flint's lead pipes and expand access to health care for residents, fought to protect our Great Lakes from invasive species, and worked to clean up PFAS chemical contamination,” says Kildee campaign spokesman Michael Flores.

According to the Federal Election Commission, two other Republicans are also vying for the party’s 5th District nomination, GM retiree Earl Lackie and salesperson Christina Fitchett-Hickson. 

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