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Rogers Announces for U.S. Senate, Asked About Carpetbagger Label

September 12, 2023

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate Wednesday morning, giving Republicans arguably their first big-named candidate in a race that has slowly ballooned with potential candidates.

Rogers, the former chair of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, released a social media post on X Wednesday morning saying that the Brighton native is returning to politics after an 8-year absence.

“I thought I put politics behind me. But like you, I know something is broken,” he said. “I’m running for the United States Senate to get America back on track.”

Earlier this year, Rogers flirted with the idea of running for president.

MIRS has learned Rogers has received strong encouragement, especially from those disaffected Republicans who are looking for someone to re-unite a badly divided state party. They think the national security-minded Rogers could be that person.

Those who have closed their checkbooks and left the new state party leaders to fend for themselves, have reportedly told Rogers they will re-open those checkbooks to help him out.

With former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer both exploring a run for the seat, as many as 10 Republicans are now either formally running or taking a hard look at running for the nomination to succeed U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing).

Republican consultant Dennis Lennox said Rogers is probably the best Michigan statewide Republican candidate for any state or federal office since 2014, but his entry into the U.S. Senate race is late and he was a Florida resident up until recently.

“Hopefully, his quixotic national flirtation allowed him to practice because I fear he could be a rusty candidate like Jeb Bush,” Lennox said. “His biggest problem is running as a Republican in bright-blue Michigan, where he needs every Republican vote, but can’t call himself a Republican or in any way associate with the Michigan Republican Party.”

The Democrats’ U.S. Senate Majority PAC wasted little time blasting Rogers on the carpetbagger claim, saying, “after spending years in Florida, long-retired Rep. Mike Rogers has trudged back to Michigan” to run.

On the campaign trail for the first time Wednesday as an announced candidate, Rogers was confronted with a reporter’s question about that “carpetbagger” thing.

“This is the first I have heard of it. Nobody is talking about it,” he said.

Nonetheless, does he consider it to be an issue?

“I am a Michigan resident,” he said. “I’ve spent 40 years in our Great State. That’s laughable. I have more time in Michigan than both of the leading Democratic contenders. Come on. This is ridiculous. It’s not an issue.”

When did he become a Michigan resident here again?

He reported it was in June.

At one point, he conceded that he thought about being a snowbird, but “with all the challenges” facing the state, he concluded it was “too important not to take the opportunity” to represent the residents of Michigan in the U.S. Senate to resolve those issues.

Rogers was asked what he thought about Meijer forming his exploratory committee to run for the same nomination.

“I was a security guard at Meijer’s as I worked my way through college,” he said, but when pressed with the notion that he and Meijer might be aiming for the same GOP voting block and could thus damage each other’s campaigns, he rejected that theory out of hand.

“I don’t believe that,” he boldly reflected.

As for other reactions to Wednesday’s announcement, Republican Senate Committee Chair Steve Daines said, “Mike Rogers has devoted his life to serving the people of Michigan and holding communist China accountable. Mike is the type of candidate who can perform well with suburban Michiganders and be a strong part of the eventual ticket in Michigan. I am pleased to see Mike stepping up to run for the U.S. Senate.”

Citizens United called Rogers a “corporate sellout” who allegedly took “$5 million from corporate special interests and served as a reliable vote and mouthpiece for them.”

Fellow Republican U.S. Senate candidate Nikki Snyder said: “I think boring old white men have plenty of representation in the U.S. Senate.”

Democratic frontrunner U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) sent out a fundraiser that reads: “After six months without any serious Republican opposition, former U.S. Representative Mike Rogers entered the race.”

Slotkin then says in her fundraising pitch that Rogers “was on the Trump national security transition team, and was in talks to be Trump’s FBI director, but then got fired. Then he became a critic of Trump.

She claims he supports an “extreme nationwide abortion ban with no exception for rape, incest or common miscarriage; he voted to cut Social Security and Medicare; and, with an A rating from the NRA, he voted to expand access to guns.”

Article courtesy MIRS News for SBAM’s Lansing Watchdog newsletter


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