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Who’s running for U.S. Senate in Michigan: Field set in race to replace Stabenow

Democrats and Republicans are lining up for the chance to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. (Courtesy photo)
  • Two Democrats, four Republicans in race to fill open U.S. Senate seat
  • U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow retiring when her current term ends
  • Race is considered competitive and could factor into which party controls the chamber’s majority

LANSING — Six candidates remain in the race to fill Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat, a contest that could determine which political party controls the chamber next year.

Four Republicans and two Democrats are set to compete in Aug. 6 primaries for the chance to replace U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a fixture in Michigan politics since the 1970s who has held the seat since 2001. 

The race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the country as Republicans seek to flip the seat and Democrats attempt to defend their narrow voting majority in the upper chamber.


U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is giving up her post in the House to run for Senate, has dominated the early fundraising battle and headlines a Democratic field that also includes actor Hill Harper. Businessman Nasser Beydoun was disqualified from the ballot due to an error on his petition sheets. 

Among Republicans, former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is racking up early endorsements and donations. He faces competition from former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, business executive Sandy Pensler and physician Sherry O’Donnell. 

Michigan has favored Democrats in recent statewide elections, but Trump won the state in 2016 and only narrowly lost in 2020. With Trump and President Joe Biden again expected to top the Nov. 5 general election ballot, Republicans believe the seat is in play. 

While third-parties can still nominate their candidates at conventions, the major party primary fields are set. Here is more information about each candidate:


Hill Harper: An actor known for his roles on “The Good Doctor” and “CSI: NY,” Harper is also an attorney, single father, author and coffee shop owner. The son of two doctors, Harper was born in Iowa and moved to Detroit in 2016. He is a graduate of Harvard University. A cancer survivor, Harper in 2012 was appointed to a cancer panel by then-President Barack Obama.

Elissa Slotkin: The current U.S. representative for Michigan's 7th District, Slotkin has served in Congress since 2019 and currently lives in Lansing. She previously worked as a Department of Defense official and analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. Born in New York but raised in Oakland County, Slotkin has degrees from Cornell and Columbia universities. 


Justin Amash: The former representative, a Trump critic who quit the Republican Party in 2019, formed an exploratory committee for U.S. Senate and on Feb. 29 announced he’d join the GOP primary. If elected, Amash said he'd aim to limit an "overgrown and abusive government that strives to centralize power and snuff out individualism."

Sherry O'Donnell: A physician, pastor and author from Stevensville, in Berrien County, O'Donnell champions "medical freedom" and opposes a "government takeover of healthcare," among other things, according to her website. She has never held elected office but ran for Congress last year, losing to incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg in a 5th District GOP primary. 

Sandy Pensler: The Grosse Pointe Park businessman announced his campaign in December, declaring that America “is burning” so it’s time to “take responsibility and fight like hell.” Pensler, who founded a private investment firm that has operated manufacturing plants attempted to challenge Stabenow in 2018 but lost in the GOP primary after spending $5 million of his own money.

Mike Rogers: The Livingston County Republican represented Michigan's 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House through 2014. In announcing his campaign, Rogers said he thought he had "put politics behind me" but was inspired to run for U.S. Senate because "something is broken."  He recently moved back to Michigan from Florida, is a former FBI special agent and chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Who's NOT running anymore?

Nasser Beydoun: The Dearborn businessman was disqualified from the ballot by Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers on May 31 because he listed a post office box on his nominating petitions instead of a street address as required under Michigan law.

Peter Meijer: The former U.S. representative, a Grand Rapids Republican who previously voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, filed petition signatures required to make the ballot but withdrew from the race April 26.

James Craig: The former Detroit police chief ended his campaign in February, citing fundraising struggles. Craig also ran for governor in 2022 but failed to make the ballot after submitting falsified signatures. He retired from the Detroit police in 2021 and is considering a run for mayor.

Pamela Pugh: The Democratic president of the State Board of Education announced Nov. 27 that she will instead run for the U.S. House in the 8th Congressional District seat held by Rep. Dan Kildee, who is not seeking re-election. 

Nikki Snyder: The Republican member of the state Board of Education ended her campaign on March 22 and announced that she is instead running for the U.S. House in the 8th Congressional District.

Leslie Love: The former state lawmaker from Detroit announced Jan. 18 that she had suspended her campaign for U.S. Senate, which she had announced back in May 2023. “While this chapter may be ending, the fight and the light for a better future continues,” she said in a statement. 

Alexandria Taylor: The Romulus attorney ended her campaign April 12 and announced that she will instead seek a Republican Party nomination for the Michigan Supreme Court. Last year, she worked on a failed GOP lawsuit that sought to invalidate all mail-in ballots from Detroit.

Michael Hoover: The Laingsburg Republican and businessman ended his campaign on April 15.

Zack Burns: A Democrat from Ann Arbor, Burns filed federal paperwork to terminate his campaign on Jan. 13. 

Sharon Savage: A political outsider, Savage is a Republican who worked as an educator in Warren Consolidated Schools and is currently based in the Oscoda region.  She failed to submit required petition signatures by the state filing deadline. 

Bensson Samuel: A physician in the Sault Ste. Marie area of the Upper Peninsula, Samuel failed to submit required petition signatures by the state filing deadline. 

Glenn Wilson: A self-described businessman and Army veteran, the Ionia Republican entered the race in January but failed to submit signatures by the state filing deadline.

J.D. Wilson: A political newcomer, Wilson is a businessman from the Houghton Lake area in Roscommon County who describes himself as a "constitutional conservative." He failed to submit signatures by the deadline.

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