Candidates compete for open Oakland County Congress seat

It's one of the most coveted positions in the state - a seat in Congress representing Oakland County.

Republican Dave Trott is on his way out and the GOP who want to take his place took part in a big debate.

"Who among us will be able to amass the millions of dollars necessary to compete with the Democrats, that's me," said Lena Epstein.

"No one will buy this district," said Rocky Raczkowski. "No Democrat no one. It belongs to the people."

The 2018 election cycle is in full swing. GOP candidates for the 11th Congressional district faced off at the Emagine Theater in Novi Monday night. They fielded questions on illegal immigration:

"They are tunneling under the wall, using hang gliders flying over the wall," said Kerry Bentivolio.

The national deficit:

"We need to cut spending, tax reform is only one part of it," Raczkowski said. "We need to cut spending."

And Social Security:

"I am in support of moving the retirement age from 67 to 70 over the course of 20 years," Epstein said.

Among the candidates, businesswoman and Trump loyalist Lena Epstein, Iraq war veteran Rocky Raczkowski and former 11th district Congressman Kerry Bentivolio, who made their case to voters.

State Rep. Klint Kesto, Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise and Kristine Bonds, the daughter of famed Detroit news anchor Bill Bonds is also vying to fill Congressman Dave Trott's seat. He's calling it quits after two terms.

"This is no time, no place for on the job training," Heise said. "This is a time when we need people who understand the process and how Washington works, how government works and more importantly who can make government work for you."

Out of 170 straw votes cast, Bentivolio (33.8 percent), Raczkowski (31.9) and Epstein (28.1) and the rest of the candidates got 3 percent. The primary is Aug. 7.