U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, is retiring after more than 20 years in the Senate. (Courtesy photo)
  • U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, 72, will not seek reelection in 2024
  • U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin announced her candidacy Monday
  • U.S. Rep. John James, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, among those who won’t run for the seat

LANSING — From business owners to Michigan’s top officials, a slew of Michiganders are mulling a bid to replace U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, who announced her retirement plan in two years.

This story also appeared in Bridge Michigan

The vacancy is a key race in 2024 and could determine the balance of power in the Senate, which the Democrats now control 51-49.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who represents Ingham County and central Michigan, announced her candidacy on Monday morning in a YouTube video, saying “we need a new generation of leaders that thinks differently, works harder and never forgets that we are public servants.”

YouTube video

So far, more Republicans and Democrats have declined to run than those who have actually filed to succeed Stabenow, 72, D-Lansing, who first won her seat in 2000. She chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee and serves as a senior member on the Senate Finance Committee and Budget Committee.


Only two candidates — both Republicans — have filed with the Federal Elections Commission as of Friday afternoon, records show.

The first to announce was Nikki Snyder, a Republican member on the state Board of Education. In a video announcement, the Dexter Republican described herself as a “self-made, tough, pissed-off mom” who “works for the people.”

“We keep voting for ‘same old, same old,’ expecting a different result,” Snyder said in the video. “What do we get? Broken, tired and talking.”

Michael Hoover, a self-described small business owner born in rural Michigan, also filed to run for the seat.

Here’s a quick look at those who have publicly expressed interest in the race and those who have dismissed the possibility.

Mulling a run:

Former U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Democrattold The Washington Post she is searching for a “strong, African American to run” and will run herself if she doesn’t find one.

Lawrence represented Detroit, Southfield and other cities in Oakland and Wayne counties in Congress from 2015 and 2023. She was the first Black woman to serve as mayor of Southfield in 2001. 

Love is a former state representative from Detroit who was first elected to the House in 2014. After leaving  the Legislature, Love was named group director of government affairs at the Piston Group, an automotive supplier founded by former Detroit Pistons player Vinnie Johnson, Crains Detroit reported.

  • State Sen. Ruth Johnson, Republican, told The Detroit News she is mulling a bid

Johnson is a Republican from Groveland Township. She is serving her second term in the state Senate and previously served six years in the House. She was Michigan’s secretary of state from 2011 to 2018 and previously served as Oakland County clerk and on the county’s Board of Commissioners.

Who is out?

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Democrat

She is serving her second four-year term after winning re-election last year. A spokesperson for the governor told NBC News Whitmer won’t seek the seat.

Stevens, a U.S. representative from Oakland County, said in a Jan. 30 tweet that “after deep consideration, I have decided that I can best serve Michigan’s working families, manufacturers, students, and small businesses in my current role,” she said.

The new Traverse City resident and former presidential candidate told CNN he plans to vote in that election and dismissed the possibility of running for Senate.

  • State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, Democrat

The state senator from Royal Oak rose to fame when one of her speeches to the Legislature went viral. On Friday, McMorrow announced “I’ll be focusing all of my attention on serving in the Michigan state Senate as the Michigan Senate Majority Whip” and declined to run for U.S. Senate in 2024.

  • U.S. Rep. John James, Republican

The freshman U.S. representative from Macomb County has filed for re-election in 2024, according to news reports Friday. “The plainest way I can put it is that I’m committed to the district,” the Farmington Hills resident told Kaitlyn Buss of Detroit News.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Democrat

Gilchrist had said he was mulling a run, but on Sunday tweeted that he and Whitmer have “more work to do. I look forward to working with our next US Senator to get it done.”

Former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Republican 

The former lieutenant governor and leader of the Small Business Association of Michigan announced last month he won’t seek the seat, The Michigan Advance reported. “There’s a 0.0 percent chance that I will even entertain running – for any office, actually, but especially one in Washington, D.C.,” Calley said.

Political experts have speculated other candidates could include Barrett, the former congressional candidate, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, but none has confirmed a run or ruled out the possibility.

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