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Mike Rogers announces candidacy for Michigan Senate

Former Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan announced a campaign for an open Senate seat on Wednesday, giving Republicans a frontrunner in a major swing-state race.

Mr Rogers, 60, served seven terms in the House and became chairman of the House Intelligence Committee before leaving it in 2015. He is by far the biggest Republican name so far in the race to replace Senator Debbie Stabenow, a retiring Democrat.

“I thought I was putting politics behind me” he said in a video announcing his campaign. “But like you, I know something is broken.”

He criticized President Biden’s policies and said “politicians are fighting to ban gas stoves while China is stealing our intellectual politics and our jobs.”

This seat is not one of the main targets for Republicans in 2024, when they will have to flip one or two seats to regain control of the Senate, depending on whether they also flip the White House. Those top targets are Montana, Ohio and West Virginia, all of which voted for Donald J. Trump twice and chose Republicans in most statewide elections.

But Michigan is a second-tier target given that it voted for Mr Trump in 2016 and has been hotly contested in 2020. It turned to Democrats mid-term, however – Governor Gretchen Whitmer was re-elected by more than 10 percentage points, and Democrats won three of four House races and upset both houses of the state legislature — and Michigan’s Republican Party fell into disarray.

In this context, Mr. Rogers, with his political experience and notoriety, could give Republicans a more realistic perspective than lesser-known candidates in this field. They include State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder; Ezra Scott, former county commissioner; Michael Hoover, an entrepreneur; and Alexandria Taylor, attorney.

The Democratic field is dominated by Representative Elissa Slotkin, who was elected to Congress in the blue wave of 2018 and was twice reelected in a pivotal constituency. His main adversaries include actor Hill Harper; Nasser Beydoun, a businessman; and Pamela Pugh, President of the National Board of Education.

Mr Rogers – unrelated to the Alabama Rep and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee of the same name – spent several years as a special agent for the FBI before running for the state Senate, then to Congress. This experience has helped make him one of the most prominent voices in the House on national security. Prior to his retirement, he led negotiations with President Barack Obama to overhaul the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance programs.


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