Dem, GOP fields getting more crowded in race to replace Stabenow in the U.S. Senate

By: - May 17, 2023 3:50 am

Former Rep. Leslie Love | Susan J. Demas

With this week’s announcement that former state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit) was seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) next year, the odds of contested GOP and Democratic primaries are rising.

“This election is about more than who raises the most money. This campaign is about giving people a choice. It’s about representation,” said Love on Monday. “Michiganders deserve a proven progressive leader with a track record of delivering results. We want to demonstrate to people that government can work when we elect a leader from the people, by the people, who puts the people first.”

Nikki Snyder | Courtesy photo

Two Republicans have declared for the seat, businessman Michael Hoover and Nikki Snyder, a member of the State Board of Education. 

“I am honored to be running as the Republican candidate for Senate and am confident that my experience and commitment to the hard-working people of Michigan make me the clear choice for this important role,” Hoover said in a statement, as reported by the Detroit News.

Other Republicans who could jump in include former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids); Michael Tuttle, vice chair of the New York Stock Exchange; and businessman Kevin Rinke, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2022.

The GOP has said that the Michigan U.S. Senate race will be a top target for the party next year. Only one Republican has represented Michigan in the Senate over the past 40 years, Spencer Abraham, who served a single term from 1995 to 2001. His tenure was ended by Stabenow, when she won her first term. He later served in the President George W. Bush cabinet.

On the Democratic side, Love joins U.S. Rep.  Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), who has raised millions of dollars since she entered the race, and two others who have never held elected office, Dearborn businessman Nasser Beydoun and Ann Arbor attorney Zack Burns.

Actor Hill Harper and State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh also have said they are considering a run.

Several high-profile Democrats have declined to run, including Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Waterford Twp.), U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and former gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.

Love represented Detroit in the Michigan House from 2015 to 2020 until she was term-limited. She then joined the state’s Natural Resources Commission in 2021, a position she resigned last week in order to make a Senate run.

If elected, Love would be Michigan’s first African American U.S. senator.

Love told the Michigan Advance in January that she didn’t think Black women had been given due consideration by the media as potential candidates.

In January, former U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) said she was considering joining the race if a “strong, African American” didn’t step forward. Since Lawrence’s retirement from Congress in 2022, Detroit does not have Black representation in Congress for the first time since Charles Diggs became Detroit’s first Black congressman in 1955.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin on March 15, 2023. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)

Slotkin, meanwhile, has tried to highlight her support within the Black community, releasing a campaign ad last week featuring state Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) and East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon, both of whom are Black, speaking about their support for Slotkin.

“The best way to know how I’d fight for Michigan in the Senate is to ask the people I represent now,” said Slotkin in releasing the ad. “I’ve been lucky to serve a diverse group of constituents & leaders from faith, labor, business & activist communities who care just as deeply about Michigan as I do.”


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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.