Republican former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a Livingston County native who graduated from Howell High School, has made it official that he is running for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat.
In a video posted Wednesday morning to his X account (formerly Twitter), Rogers appears to make a strong bid to attract supporters of former President Donald Trump, whose votes he will need in order to win the GOP primary next August.
“I thought I’d put politics behind me, but like you, I know something’s broken,” says Rogers. “America under [President Joe] Biden and his cronies is going in the wrong direction. Open borders. A broken system of justice. One for the D.C. elites and one for the rest of us. Biden’s bad policies making gas and groceries more expensive and home ownership harder. Schools care more about social engineering than as my father used to say, “the three Rs, Readin’, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic.”
Rogers’ reference to a “broken system of justice,” is seemingly geared toward Trump and his supporters who believe the 91 felony countsthe former president is facing in four different cases, including state charges in Georgia, have been a political “witch-hunt” orchestrated by Biden.
Michigan’s Senate seat — left open by the 2024 retirement of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) — is seen by both parties as a must-win as Democrats hold a slim 51-49 majority in the upper chamber. Many analysts have said Rogers is the GOP’s best to flip the seat if he can get the nomination.
Rogers also refers to “social engineering” in schools, which appears to dovetail with the rhetoric from the “parental rights” movement supported by Republicans that has opposed books and curriculum dealing with racism and LGBTQ+ issues.
The 60-year-old Rogers represented mid-Michigan in the U.S. House for seven terms from 2001 to 2015, and also served as chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee, before retiring from politics, moving to Florida and becoming a defense lobbyist. However, his X page now lists his location as “Michigan.”
While Rogers is expected to tap his connections and raise millions of dollars, analysts have questioned whether he can win over Trump voters to secure the nomination.
His former service as an FBI agent and CNN commentator may not be popular with MAGA voters, many of whom view the federal law enforcement agency as complicit in targeting Trump as well as the cable news outlet that is often a target of his ire.
Additionally, in 2018 Rogers said Trump was “fundamentally wrong” in his assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, called Trump’s political tactics “destructive” and would not commit to supporting Trump for President in 2024 if he is the GOP nominee.
Wednesday’s video announcement appears to be the first step toward moving past those criticisms and uniting Michigan Republicans.
A request for comment was sent to Roger’s campaign, but has yet to be returned.
However, the Michigan Democratic Party wasted no time in issuing a statement about the announcement.
“Michigan Republicans’ nasty primary will leave them with a badly damaged nominee who is out of touch with Michigan families and will struggle in the general election,” said MDP Chair Lavora Barnes.“Retread Mike Rogers quit on Michigan nearly a decade ago, but he won’t be able to hide from his record: pushing the interests of China and big corporations at the expense of working families, putting Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block, and even backing an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.”
Former Rep. Mike Rogers | Rogers campaign video screenshot
That last statement referenced comments Rogers made back in March on WKAR’s “Off the Record” in which he was asked if he would have voted yes or no on Proposal 3 last November, which codified abortion rights into Michigan’s constitution following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
“I probably wouldn’t have done that because it covers right up to the day of birth, and I’m not there,” said Rogers. “I don’t think most Americans are there. I think that’s kind of an extreme position.”
The amendment allows the state to prohibit abortion after “fetal viability” unless needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health.
The statewide proposal passed by a 13-point margin with 57% of the vote.
Several other Michigan Republican candidates have announced campaigns for the seat, including state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder; attorney Alexandria Taylor, who has represented Michigan GOP Chair Kristina Karamo; former Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott; and Michael Hoover, who used to work for Dow Chemical Co.
But Rogers’ entrance into the race provides the first big-name Republican to seek the seat. Former Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) who lost his primary last year after he voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 riot, is also considering a run and has formed an exploratory committee. Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who failed to make the GOP gubernatorial ballot last year, also is weighing a bid.
On the Democratic side, Michigan Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, former state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit), actor Hill Harper, businessman Nasser Beydoun, attorney Zack Burns and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), who currently represents most of the same district that Rogers did when he was in Congress.
Slotkin, known as a prodigious fundraiser, has gathered nearly $6 million in campaign contributions since announcing her bid in February.