Unexpected Senate Race in Michigan Has Huge Stakes

Stabenow's retirement sets up a likely race between Elissa Slotkin and Mike Rogers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2024 2:20 PM CDT
A Look at Michigan's Crucial (and Surprise) Senate Race
Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

The AP takes a look at the Senate race unfolding in all-important Michigan in the wake of Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow's surprise decision to retire.

  • Democrats: Rep. Elissa Slotkin quickly emerged as her party's top choice.
  • Republicans: It took Michigan Republicans longer to find their frontrunner. Buffeted by turmoil between pro-Trump Republicans and the old guard of the state GOP, they eventually lured former US Rep. Mike Rogers out of retirement to contend for the opening.
  • Primaries: Both Slotkin and Rogers have opponents in the Aug. 6 primary, but they also have advantages that make a second November showdown likely in a key swing state. Rogers, for example, has the endorsement of Donald Trump, while Slotkin is a formidable fundraiser.

  • The stakes: With Trump and President Biden poised to slug it out for the state's indispensable 15 electoral votes at the top of the ticket, the unexpected fight for Michigan's open Senate seat could say a lot about what the winner will be dealing with once they are sworn in for a second term. "The Senate's on the line," said Jason Roe, a Republican strategist in Michigan. "And Rogers and Slotkin could be a clash of the titans."
  • The issues: The race is expected to take on similar dimensions to the presidential campaign, with Slotkin pressing the case for reproductive rights and Rogers slamming Biden on border security and inflation. It may also include a strong element from both sides about the war in the Middle East, with Rogers invoking his foreign policy credentials and looking for ways to criticize Slotkin and Biden on an issue that divides Democrats.
  • Close: "This race is going to go down to the wire," said former Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton. "This is going to be two heavyweights, in a positive way. They really know the issues and will go toe to toe on them."
Read the full AP story, with more details on the race and views from voters. (More Michigan stories.)

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