Politics

Democrats Land New Candidate to take on Michigan's Mike Bishop

29-year-old Suzanna Shkreli has never run for office before

Rep. Mike Bishop has a new Democratic challenger in Michigan's 8th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have recruited a new candidate to take on Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Bishop in November.  

Suzanna Shkreli, a Macomb County assistant prosecutor, announced her campaign Wednesday for the state's 8th District.  

Democrats thought they had a candidate in actress Melissa Gilbert , of "Little House on the Prairie" fame. But she ended her campaign in May citing head and neck injuries — a loss for Democrats, who are trying to maximize recruitment to expand the House playing field in redder districts.  

Gilbert's departure left the party in a difficult spot since the filing deadline had already passed. The actress's name will still appear on the Aug. 2 primary ballot, but after that, Democrats are hoping to use a provision in Michigan's election law to replace her on the general election ballot with Shkreli.  

Shkreli, 29, currently serves in the county prosecutor's Child Protection Unit, handling sex crimes and physical abuse committed against children.  

Democrats are enthusiastic about running a young, first-time candidate against the freshman Republican.  

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the 8th District a Safe Republican contest, but Democrats see an opportunity here since Mitt Romney won here by only 3 points in 2012. President Barack Obama carried the district under its current lines by 6 points in 2008.  

"I plan to hit the ground running, talking to voters, and putting together a strong campaign that will win in November," Shkreli said in a statement announcing her campaign.  

Entering the race late in the game, she'll need to raise money quickly. Bishop ended the first quarter of 2016 with $722,000 .  

Contact Pathé at simonepathe@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @sfpathe .

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