Howell real estate agent Mike Detmer and former television anchor and prosecutorPaul Junge were in a tight Republican primary race to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Holly as the GOP battles to take back the 8th Congressional District seat. 

Junge had about 32.2% of the vote to Detmer’s 30.7% with about 12% of precincts reporting. Fowlerville lawyer Kristina Lyke followed at 25%.

Marine veteran Al Hoover was last with about 12%.

The 53-year-old Junge moved back to Michigan last year. He spent 2014-18 in Washington, D.C., where he worked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee before gaining a senior adviser position at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services when President Donald Trump took office. Junge also spent time working in the family business, All Star Maintenance, which maintains military housing. 

Detmer, 44, is running as a “constitutional patriot” committed to bringing more pharmaceutical production into the United States, deregulating industries to bring jobs back to Michigan and protecting Second Amendment rights. 

Lyke, 44, is a Fowlerville lawyer who considers herself a “mediator” in a time of political division. Hoover, 39, is a business owner who questions the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Each of the Republican candidates has listed the preservation of constitutional rights as a priority should they be elected, followed closely by tight restrictions on the foreign production of pharmaceuticals. 

The GOP candidates also professed support for Trump, but said they would would speak their minds if they disagreed with the president. 

The 8th Congressional District is comprised of the left-leaning Ingham County, the right-leaning Livingston County and part of Oakland County, whose Republican roots have steadily begun to turn blue.The makeup draws a diverse set of voters to the polls each election.

Caleb Kime, a 25-year-old Lansing man, cast his vote for Detmer because it was the name he recognized most based on yard signs, billboards and ads.

“I’m a Trump supporter,” Kime said. “I stand behind, for the most part, what most Republicans do. It’s what I’ve done since I’ve been voting — stick to what I feel is best.” 

Scott and Erica Ketchum of Holt cast a Democratic ballot Tuesday, opting for in-person voting instead of absentee because of worries about the potential for the ballot to be lost in the mail or a mistake in preparing his ballot.  Scott Ketchum said he’d had calls from the 8th Congressional District GOP candidates, but said he was likely to cast his ballot for Slotkin in November.

“I haven’t minded the things that Elissa Slotkin has done,” Scott Ketchum said. “The things that I’ve heard her attempting to do don’t seem out of line with what I would think is reasonable.”

A former security adviser for the U.S. Marine Corps, 39-year-old Hoover said he was motivated to run “while watching American citizens’ rights be stripped away” by globalist corporations, taxes and infringements on the Second Amendment. 

A career litigator, Lyke, 44, said she would strive to “place America first” should she win, chiefly by protecting individuals’ First and Second Amendment rights. 

The 8th Congressional District was flipped by Slotkin in 2018 when she beat Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop by four percentage points. President Donald Trump won the district by nearly 7 percentage points in 2016.

Slotkiin ran unopposed in the primary and has more than $4.8 million in cash on hand for the November general election, a figure that dwarfs the roughly $520,000 Junge had on hand in July. None of the other candidates had raised more than $60,000 last quarter.

Junge and Hoover are the only candidates to have gone on television so far with ads. The pro-Hoover commercial was paid for by a political action committee called Restore Our Republic, a group connected to the Michigan Conservative Coalition.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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