GOP former US Rep. Meijer runs for Michigan’s US Senate

Peter Meijer announced on Monday that he would run for the open U.S. Senate Seat in Michigan. Meijer was a Republican and served in Congress for one term before being ousted after voting to impeach Donald Trump.

Meijer is one of over a dozen candidates who are vying to fill the seat held by Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, who has been in office for more than 20 years. In January, Stabenow announced her retirement and created a wide-open race in this battleground state.

“My wife, and I, prayed a lot about this race. We asked ourselves how we could best serve our state and nation. We have considered all aspects of the campaign and we are confident that we will be able to win this seat back for Republicans, as well as fight hard for a future conservative,” Meijer stated in a recent statement posted on X (formerly Twitter).

“We live in a dark and uncertain time, but we’ve been through worse.” Our country faces great challenges, but we are also up to them. “If we want to see another great American Century, we need leaders that are bold, willing to work hard, and cannot be bought.”

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Meijer, the heir of a Midwestern supermarket empire, is a young man. He is a leading candidate in the most competitive Senate race in the country because of his name recognition and ability to raise money. In the Republican field he joins former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, and former Detroit Police chief James Craig. The Democratic field is led by U.S. Rep. Elissa slotkin and includes actor Hill Harper.

Jason Thielman is the Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He said that Meijer was “not viable in a primaries election and that there are concerns that the base wouldn’t be enthused if Meijer won the nomination in the general elections.”

Slotkin announced in February her intention to run, but the Republican field was relatively empty up until Rogers and Craig announced their campaigns in September. Slotkin had more than $4 million in her bank account through September compared to any other Senate candidate, according the latest campaign finance figures released earlier this month.

Meijer is a Grand Rapids native and a former Army Reserve officer who served in Iraq. When he was only 32, he was considered a member of the new generation of Republican leaders. Meijer was immediately targeted by Trump supporters after voting to impeach Trump only two weeks into his first term.

Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans to vote in 2021 for Trump’s impeachment following the deadly mob attack on the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. In 2022, despite a substantial fundraising advantage, he lost his reelection bid to a Trump-backed opponent despite having an enormous fundraising lead.

There are still questions about whether a candidate who voted against Trump’s impeachment can survive the Republican primary. Trump won Michigan in 2016 and his endorsed candidate have won primaries overwhelmingly before losing in general elections by large margins.

Meijer would be a formidable opponent to the Democratic nominee if he could make it past the GOP primaries. His surname is among the most well-known in the state and his reputation as moderate Republican may help in an area that has been trending Democratic in recent years.

Since 2008, when Democratic Senator Carl Levin was reelected by a margin of 29%, the margin for victory has been shrinking. In 2020, Democratic Sen. Gary Peters was re-elected over GOP challenger John James with a margin of less than 2%. This is the closest race for over 20 years.

In part due to the turmoil within the GOP, Democrats were able to win decisive victories by 2022. They took control of both chambers of state legislatures for the first in decades, and maintained control over the governor’s seat. Last year, the party won Michigan’s U.S. House races in nearly all of them.

The Michigan seat is crucial to the Democrats’ efforts to keep the Senate. They currently hold a 51-49 Senate majority. However, they face tough challenges in defending seats in Republican states such as West Virginia, Montana and Ohio.