Slyvia Jarrus/The New York Times

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) is running to keep her seat against Republican challenger Tom Barrett.

August 22, 2022

New Crop of Cornellians Compete in Current Congressional Campaigns

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With election day approaching on Nov. 8, here is a brief guide to the Cornellians running for congressional office this year.

Dan Meuser ’88 – Pennsylvania’s Ninth District

First elected in 2018, Dan Meuser ’88 is running for a third term representing the 9th congressional district of Pennsylvania. 

Meuser is a former president of Pride Mobility Products, a company producing motorized wheelchairs and other mobility aids. He is now facing off against Democrat Amanda Waldman.

Katherine Clark, J.D. ’89 – Massachusetts’ Fifth District

An alumna of Cornell Law School, Clark has been in office since 2013, winning a special election to replace Sen. Ed Markey to represent the fifth congressional district of Massachusetts. 

Clark is on the Appropriations committee and serves as the assistant speaker of the House for the 117th Congress.

Jaime McCleod-Skinner, M.Eng. ’95 – Oregon’s Fifth District

In a surprising upset, McCleod-Skinner defeated 7-time incumbent and fellow Cornellian Kurt Schrader ’73 in May for the democratic primary of Oregon’s 5th Congressional district. 

McCleod-Skinner is expected to win the heavily-democratic district, and would be the first openly LGBTQ+ person to represent the district.

Beth Van Duyne ’95 – Texas’ 24th District

A B.A. in Urban and Regional Studies, Van Duyne is running for a second term now against democratic challenger Jan McDowell.

Previously serving as the mayor of Irving, Texas, Van Duyne was appointed by former president Trump to a regional administrator position for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2017.

Elissa Slotkin ’98 – Michigan’s Eighth District

An undergraduate degree in sociology at Cornell, Slotkin then served as a Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officer, and later at the National Security Council during the Bush administration. During the Obama administration, she worked in the state department.

Slotkin, considered a moderate Democrat, has represented Michigan’s highly competitive eighth Congressional District since 2018, when she defeated her Republican rival and then incumbent, Mike Bishop, with 50.6 percent of the vote. Now, she’s running to keep her seat against Republican challenger Tom Barrett.

Tara Sweeney ’98 – Alaska at Large

Tara Sweeney, a moderate republican is currently running to replace the late Representative Don Young in both a special and regular election in a crowded election featuring Sarah Palin, among others.

Alaska uses a ranked-choice voting system by which voters rank their preferred candidates from first to last. The candidate who receives the least amount of votes is eliminated, and ballots who listed that candidate as their first choice get reallocated to each ballot’s second choice, and so forth, until one candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote. This will be the first election using the system since a referendum on the change was passed in 2020.

If elected, Sweeney, who is Iñupiaq, would be the first Alaska Native to represent the State in Congress.

Melanie Stansbury, M.S. ’07 – New Mexico’s First District

Democrat Melanie Stansbury first entered the office in June 2021, after winning a special election to replace representative Deb Haaland who was appointed Secretary of the Interior by the Biden Administration.

Now, Stansbury is attempting to defend her seat against Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes in a Democratic-leaning district that includes most of Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

Sharice Davids, J.D. ’10 – Kansas’ Third District

Former mixed martial arts fighter and attorney, Davids became the first openly LGBTQ+ Native American in congress. A member of the Ho-Chunk nation, has worked on economic and community development at Native American reservations. 

As a representative, Davids has worked on strengthening public schools, lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and making sure the government is working for the interest of people. 

Davids now faces a race in a region that has recently been redistricted, now including mostly rural counties.

Wesley Hunt M.P.A. ’15, M.B.A. ’15, M.I.L.R. ’16 – Texas’ 38th District

Having advanced from the Republican primary in March, Hunt is set to compete against in November in a district that skews Republican.

Hunt’s victory would be one of the seats Republicans need to form a majority, and would be an important part of their plans to retake the House.

If elected, Hunt would be the third Black Republican in congress alongside the two currently serving: Burgess Owens of U.T.-04 and Byron Donalds of F.L.-19.