February 28, 2023
Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan) is running for the Michigan Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Debbie Stabenow. “We need a new generation of leaders that thinks differently, works harder, and never forgets that we are public servants,” Slotkin said in a video announcing her 2024 Senate run, reports Politico.
Slotkin is one of the first candidates to enter the race since Stabenow announced in January that she would not seek a fifth term—teeing up a high-stakes contest that could ultimately determine the balance of power in the Senate. Slotkin has since been gradually and methodically preparing for an announcement, according to two Democrats with knowledge of her campaign strategy.
Although the state has a strong bench of potential candidates—including Attorney General Dana Nessel, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Representative Debbie Dingell—Slotkin already is emerging as the “consensus candidate” among the state’s Democratic leadership, according to a senior Democrat in Michigan.
On the GOP side, Nikki Snyder, a Republican State Board of Education member, announced her run for Stabenow’s seat earlier in February. Other potential Republican candidates include former Representative Pete Meijer, one of a handful of Republicans who voted in 2021 to impeach former President Donald Trump; and former Representative Mike Rogers, who served as chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. If Meijer runs, Democrats are banking on Trump resurfacing to campaign against him, as happened in the 2022 midterm election.
The 46-year-old Slotkin has won three races in a row in one of the toughest and most expensive congressional districts in the country. While the district lines have been redrawn, Slotkin’s central Michigan district was originally the same one Stabenow represented before being elected to the Senate. A mix of suburban and rural areas just northwest of Detroit, the GOP had held the seat for 20 years before Slotkin flipped it blue.
“I think she will turn out to be the clear consensus candidate among Democratic leadership. She has a very strong organization, great credentials and a national fundraising network. Very few people have that anywhere and in Michigan,” said a top Democrat with knowledge of discussions among top state officials.
Would-be competitors have in recent days announced that they will not seek the seat, including Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist and state Senator Mallory McMorrow. Benson, likewise, has said she’s “happy” in her current job and is considered more likely to have her eyes on the governor’s mansion, according to the top Democrat who has spoken directly with her.
In her campaign video, the Slotkin touted her background at the CIA, doing three tours in Iraq alongside the U.S. military, and her time working at the White House. She also pointed to the Michigan “values” she was raised under, of coming together at times of crisis, being able to live a middle class lifestyle, and of pursuing the “American dream.”
“Look, we all know America is going through something right now. We seem to be living crisis to crisis,” Slotkin said. “But there are certain things that should be really simple, like living a middle class life in the state that invented the middle class.”
Research contact: @politico