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Who’s running for U.S. Senate in Michigan: Justin Amash officially enters the race

  • Former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash formally launches bid for the U.S. Senate
  • Amash enters a Republican field that includes U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer, State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder and businessman Sandy Pensler
  • Democratic field features U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, actor Hill Harper and businessman Nasser Beydoun

LANSING — Former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash launched a campaign for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat Thursday, re-entering Republican politics with a promise to “challenge anyone and everyone on the people’s behalf.”

Amash, who had previously formed an exploratory committee, argued in a social media announcement that “no candidate would be better positioned to win both the Republican primary and the general election.”

The former lawmaker from suburban Grand Rapids left the Republican Party in 2019 after publicly clashing with then-President Donald Trump. He later voted to impeach Trump. At one point, he considered running for president as a Libertarian.

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In his Thursday statement, Amash said the Senate needs “a principled, consistent constitutional conservative” with a record of “taking on the bipartisan oligarchy,” protecting individual rights and defending freedom of speech. 

“This is the land of liberty, and it’s on us to defend it,” he wrote.

Amash joins a crowded field vying to replace outgoing Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. 

Republican hopefuls include former U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer, and business executive Sandy Pensler. Democratic candidates include U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and actor Hill Harper.

As of late February, three Democrats and twelve Republicans have declared for the August primary. Candidates can still join — or leave — the race by the spring filing deadline. But here's who's in so far:

    Democrats

    Nasser Beydoun: The Dearborn businessman is a restaurant owner and former chair of the American Arab Chamber of Congress. Beydoun describes himself as a political moderate and civil rights advocate. He is the son of a Lebanese immigrant who found his footing in Michigan as a UAW member, according to Beydoun's campaign. 

    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. 

    Republicans

    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."

    Michael Hoover: A businessman who previously worked at Dow Chemical, Hoover lives in Laingsburg in Shiawassee County and is a first-time candidate for political office. His focus is on strong families, fiscal responsibility, educational freedom, middle-class prosperity and government accountability, according to his campaign. 

    Peter Meijer: A former U.S. representative, the Grand Rapids Republican in 2022 lost his bid for a second term in Congress after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting Capitol riots. Meijer served in the U.S. Army Reserve and conducted intelligence operations in Iraq. He is a member of the Meijer family that owns the Michigan-based superstore chain.

    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.

    Sharon Savage: A political outsider, Savage worked as an educator for Warren Consolidated Schools and is currently based in the Oscoda region. Savage says she's a lifelong Republican focused on border security, education, the economy and confronting China about its "unfair trade practices" among other things. 

    Bensson Samuel: A physician in the Sault Ste. Marie area of the Upper Peninsula, Samuel says he is focused on improving health care access, increased education funding, business innovation and renewable energy solutions. He filed to run as a Republican. 

    Nikki Snyder: A registered nurse from Howell, Snyder has served on the Michigan State Board of Education since 2016, when she was the second-highest vote getter in the general election. Snyder describes herself as a "freedom-loving patriot" and wants a Parent's Bill of Rights to ensure they have a strong role in their children's education. 

    Alexandria Taylor :A former Democrat from Romulus, Taylor is an attorney who last year worked on a failed Republican lawsuit that sought to invalidate all mail-in ballots from Detroit. She holds degrees from Michigan State, Eastern Michigan and Detroit Mercy universities, according to her campaign, which says she is focused on "family, faith and freedom."

    Glenn Wilson: A self-described businessman and Army veteran, the Ionia Republican entered the race in January and said he was running to "rescue the American Dream." Wilson is an engineer and software developer who has not previously held elected office. His campaign says he supports former President Donald Trump, gun rights and capitalism but opposes "woke ideology."

    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." On his campaign website, Wilson says that in the U.S. Senate he would work to cut taxes, put the federal government on “a diet" and fight inflation, which he calls a "war on middle class families."

    Who's NOT running anymore?

    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.

    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. 

    Pamela Pugh: The Democratic president of the State Board of Education was running for U.S. Senate but 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. 

    Zack Burns: A Democrat from Ann Arbor, Burns entered the race in April 2023 with a promise to focus on affordable housing, health care, education and training. He filed federal paperwork to terminate his campaign on Jan. 13. 

    Editor's note: This article was updated at 11:10 a.m. Dec. 4 to clarify that Peter Meijer attended, but did not graduate from, West Point. 

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