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House candidate’s ‘party before country’ gaffe appears in ad

U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, right, shakes hands with Vice President Mike Pence at a rally for Republicans in Oakland County, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, at the Oakland County Airport in Waterford, Mich. (Tanya Moutzalias/Ann Arbor News-MLive.com via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Democratic congressional candidate in Michigan who blundered by telling thousands of supporters that she puts “party before country” will see her gaffe repeated in a weeklong TV ad backed by a Republican group that is hoping to tip the scales in the hotly contested race.

Elissa Slotkin, who is challenging two-term Republican Rep. Mike Bishop in the closely watched 8th District that stretches between the northern Detroit suburbs and Lansing, will be targeted in the ad campaign starting Wednesday. She made the remarks at a Friday rally with President Barack Obama and other Democrats in Detroit and then quickly corrected herself after the crowd began murmuring. She said it must be “country before party” to loud applause.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, an independent political action committee aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, is spending $1 million on the 30-second ad that shows her faux pas and accuses her of backing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s agenda. The group previously canceled ad time it had reserved to help Bishop, who has been outraised nearly 2 to 1.

Slotkin, who served three tours in Iraq, was a national security expert for both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. She has made “country first” a theme of her campaign, including in an ad that began airing over the weekend.

“Slotkin has publicly, repeatedly said that we need to put country over party — something she has done every day that she served protecting our country,” said her spokeswoman Laura Epstein. “This is a desperate attempt to smear her and the worst example of politics as usual.”

The race is attracting big spending and national attention because of its potential implications on the battle for control of the GOP-led House.

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday campaigned for Bishop and other Republicans in Oakland County’s Waterford Township, while former Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak at a Lansing rally for Slotkin and other Democrats on Thursday.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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Follow David Eggert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/David%20Eggert

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