Another competitor has entered Michigan’s 10th Congressional District race, this time with some star power.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) announced that he will be running for the Republican nomination. He joins two other Republicans and two Democrats fighting for the seat. Hernandez is a second-term member of the Michigan House, who worked for a Port Huron architectural firm before becoming a Representative.

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The seat is currently occupied by retiring Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell, who announced his retirement earlier this year claiming that he was tired of politics taking precedent over prudence and wanted to spend more time with his 9-year-old son who has special needs. Mitchell is one of many Republicans retiring ahead of the 2020 election after President Donald Trump tweeted disparaging comments about the “squad”, a phenomenon that leaves Republican districts without the incumbent advantage.

The incumbent advantage may not play a large role in this election however, as Michigan’s 10th Congressional District carried strong for Republicans in 2018 and 2016. Mitchell won the district in 2018 by nearly 80 thousand votes, placing 25 points ahead of his opponent Kimberly Bizon. In 2016 Mitchell won by 30 points and the district voted for President Donald Trump by 32 points.

Trump’s popularity in the district plays a large part in Hernandez’s current campaign strategy. His announcement video focused on his father, who worked on farms and in factories in an effort to help Hernandez live the “American Dream.”

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“I believe in the american dream because I lived it, and today I am running to congress to protect it,” Hernandez said. “In Lansing I fought for what’s right and got results.”

Hernandez mentioned his reputation as a particularly conservative member of the House.

“I opposed every effort to raise taxes, defended the unborn, and stood up for individual liberties,” Hernandez said. “And I have never backed down when our values are under attack, that’s why I was voted the ‘Most Conservative Member of the House.’”

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His hard line approach to policy, his anti-socialist stance, and his promise to partner up with the president served as the kicker to his announcement.

“Now, socialists threaten everything that makes our country great. Their agenda not only endangers our values, but it jeopardizes our national and economic security. President Trump is standing strong against the forces of socialism, but he needs help. In Congress I will fight alongside president trump and I will never relent. I’m ready for the challenge and I’m committed to solving the issues that we care about here in Michigan. Securing better trade deals for manufacturing and agriculture, securing our borders, and protecting our Great Lakes.”

Also running in Michigan’s 10th Congressional District are Democrats Kelly Lynn Noland and Kimberly Bizon, and Republicans Richard Piwko and Brandon Mikula. Kelly Lynn Noland is a former Army nurse and retiree. Kimberly Bizon is a political newbie, environmental activist, and marketer who unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2018. Richard Piwko is the co-owner of an internet marketing company that helps market for the campaigns of Republican candidates, he announced his candidacy yesterday. Brandon Mikula is a local firefighter and Navy veteran, who is marketing his campaign around his outsider status.