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Michigan Senate race getting crowded

The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol.
Win McNamee
The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol.

It’s shaping up to be a crowded race for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat, starting with next year’s Democratic and Republican primaries.

Film and television actor Hill Harperbecame the latest name to join the Democratic field with a campaign launch video posted Monday.

“Our economy works for the richest while the most vulnerable have to work even harder to keep up. That’s not freedom,” he said in the video presented as a letter to his son.

Michigan State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, former State Representative Leslie Love, businessperson Nasser Baydounand attorneyZack Burns are early entrants to the Democratic field.

On the Republican side, Michigan State Board of Education MemberNikki Snyder, businessperson Michael Hooverand attorney Alexandria Taylor have filed to run. Taylor was fined by a judge for filing a frivolous challenge to ballots cast in Detroit in the last election. Former Congressman Mike Rogers and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig – whose 2022 campaign for governor collapsed amid a petition signature fiasco – are also considering bids for the GOP nomination.

More candidates are expected to jump into both party primaries with the retirement pending of incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow, who has held the seat since 2001.

David Duliois an Oakland University political science professor. He said organization will matter and fundraising will matter, but there could easily be surprises – especially since primaries tend to be low-turnout elections.

“The more crowded the field, the easier it is for a lesser-known candidate because they can win without having to amass a large plurality of the vote,” Dulio told Michigan Public Radio.

He says the competition for voters’ attention will be especially intense in a presidential election year. President Joe Biden won Michigan in 2020 with 50.6% of the vote.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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