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Ousted in House primary, Meijer seeks Michigan Senate comeback

Republican who backed Trump’s impeachment faces hurdle in primary

Former Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., is running for the state's open Senate seat.
Former Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., is running for the state's open Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, who was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump in 2021, said Monday he will run for the state’s open Senate seat next year.

“We are in dark and uncertain times, but we have made it through worse. The challenges are great, but so is our country,” Meijer, who served one term in the House, said in a statement. “If we are to see another great American century, we need leaders who aren’t afraid to be bold, will do the work, and can’t be bought.”

Meijer, 45, said he was “confident we have the best chance of taking back this seat for the Republicans and fighting hard for a conservative future.”

Others seeking the GOP nomination include former Rep. Mike Rogers and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and actor Hill Harper are seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat.

Meijer lost a primary last year to a more conservative Republican who went on to lose the general election, but who attacked Meijer as a moderate. Meijer was the only freshman in his party to vote to impeach Trump in 2021, a vote he acknowledged put a target on his back just days into his first term in the House. 

An Iraq war veteran whose family owns the Meijer grocery store chain, Meijer had a moderate voting record while in Congress, joining Democrats on votes to provide funding for the Ukraine war and gun safety legislation.

While Meijer’s record could be appealing to moderate Republicans and independent voters, it could also be a liability in a Republican primary. His family’s wealth could help him in the race, as family members previously appeared to back a super PAC that supported him in his reelection race last year. He also may have to build support from party leaders.

In September, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines had welcomed Rogers, a former House Intelligence Committee chairman, to the race, calling him “the type of candidate who can perform well with suburban Michiganders and be a strong part of the eventual ticket in Michigan.”

The NRSC’s executive director, Jason Thielman, on Monday disparaged Meijer’s chances. “Peter Meijer isn’t viable in a primary election, and there’s worry that if Meijer were nominated, the base would not be enthused in the general election,” he said.

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement that Meijer joining the race makes Republicans’ primary race there “even messier.”

“Their intra-party fight is guaranteed to leave them with a nominee who is badly damaged and out of step with working families,” she said in a statement. “Meijer has a long record of leaving Michigan families behind, from his support of the 2017 tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations – including his own family – to his record of supporting dangerous abortion bans with no exceptions for rape or incest.”

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Michigan Senate race as Lean Democratic. 

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