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 July 11, 2023

TV actor Hill Harper jumps into Senate race in Michigan

Television actor Hill Harper is entering one of 2024's most closely watched Senate races as a Democrat.

The CSI: New York and The Good Doctor star declared he is challenging Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Mi.) for the open seat being vacated by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow (D).

Stabenow's seat is considered a pickup opportunity for Republicans in next year's Senate elections, which are expected to tilt in favor of the right.

Celebrity enters Senate race

Harper enters a crowded primary field led by Slotkin, who has the backing of the party establishment. Slotkin, a former CIA employee and national security hawk, has served in the House since 2019.

Harper's bid has been welcomed by progressives who say Slotkin is not far enough to the left, but others fear he would spoil a winnable race for the Democrats.

The political novice said he would disrupt "politics as usual" by representing ordinary people, citing his experience as the owner of a coffee shop in Detroit and his membership in an actors' union. Harper, who is black, also pointed to his race. 

"There's a high degree of frustration by a lot of Democrats ― not just African-American Democrats in Michigan ― that for the first time in 57 years Michigan does not have a Black Democratic representative in Congress. And that is going backwards," Harper told the Detroit News. 

Battleground state

Republicans have not drafted a high-profile candidate yet for Stabenow's seat.

On the Democratic side, additional candidates include State Board of Education member Pamela Pugh, former Detroit state Rep. Leslie Love, businessman Nasser Beydoun and lawyer Zack Burns.

Republicans fell short in Michigan in 2022, failing to unseat lockdown maniac Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Slotkin also held onto her seat in one of the most competitive House races nationwide, defeating Republican Tom Barrett, a former state senator.

Slotkin has endorsed former state senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D) to replace her in Michigan's 7th district. Barrett has announced he is running again for Slotkin's seat.

Written By:
Matthew Boose

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