“As the Michigan Republican primary for U.S. Senate gets cranking, so are the attacks on candidates”
LANSING — The Detroit News reported yesterday that the Republican Senate candidates are “bashing one another” as they cave to pressure, “flip[ping] their tone,” and trying to cozy up to Trump after facing criticism in the GOP primary “bloodbath.”
Candidates have “piled on” each other over their stances on Trump in the “radioactive” primary. Craig bashed Meijer and Rogers for being “damaged goods” who “had their shot in D.C., and they wasted it.” Rogers called out Meijer for getting “snookered.” Meijer slammed his opponents saying “you don’t respect somebody who is just kind of willing to debase themselves.” Pensler released an ad hitting Rogers.
Read the Detroit News’ reporting on the candidates attacking each other over their Trump stances:
Detroit News: Anti-Trump baggage could dog some Republican Senate candidates in Michigan
- As the Michigan Republican primary for U.S. Senate gets cranking, so are the attacks on candidates who have been critical of former President Donald Trump…
- Top contenders for the nomination bashing one another over their Trump stances was inevitable… that could complicate their campaigns for the party’s nomination in the Aug. 6 primary election.
- In that sense, a new TV ad bashing former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, for his past criticism of Trump is likely just the beginning. The 30-second spot cuts together video clips of Rogers from 2017 to 2023 calling Trump’s actions “petty,” “below the stature of the office” and saying “Trump was not my candidate.”
- The ad is from businessman Sandy Pensler of Grosse Pointe Park, who in his 2018 Senate campaign said he didn’t like Trump’s personal style and that he speaks “at a fourth-grade level,” calling it a “remarkable” talent that can sometimes backfire.
- Another candidate, former Detroit police Chief James Craig, said in 2021 he wouldn’t be “defined” by Trump…
- Two other contenders from the Grand Rapids area, former U.S. Reps. Peter Meijer and Justin Amash — who launched an exploratory committee last week — elicited Trump’s wrath…
- Most candidates aren’t talking like this anymore, having flipped their tone to speak more positively. Craig, Pensler and Rogers have all endorsed the former president, and Meijer has said he’ll support the eventual 2024 nominee ― increasingly likely to be Trump after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.
- Democrats argue that the Trumpy discord in the Senate GOP contest could help them by producing a weaker candidate in the general election who will be linked to Trump’s record on everything from abortion to the “big lie” claiming he won the 2020 election.
- “As the primary gets more divisive by the day, it’s clear that their brutal infighting will leave them with a badly damaged nominee who is out-of-step with Michigan families,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said.
- The high-profile candidates in the GOP field fall into three buckets ― those who haven’t said much to offend the former president, those who have used words to criticize him and those who did something against Trump like vote to impeach him.
- … Craig, whom Sellek described as a “land speculator” candidate who’s basically waiting to see if he gets the Trump endorsement and not doing much visible campaigning or preparation.
- Craig has piled on Rogers for his Trump criticism while on CNN, saying he’s just “pretending” to support the former president. Pensler consultant Stu Sandler also contended a liability for Rogers will be his years’ worth of commentary on CNN during which he regularly was asked to weigh in on Trump news of the day.
- Craig and Rogers have both gone after Meijer. Rogers said the one-term congressman got “snookered,” and Craig has said Meijer and Rogers are “damaged goods” who “had their shot in D.C., and they wasted it.”
- “You don’t respect somebody who is just kind of willing to debase themselves,” Meijer said of those who twist into knots to win the former president’s support.