“Michigan’s Republican primary is shaping up to be one of the most contentious in the country” and “Donald Trump’s endorsement is tantalizingly up for grabs”

LANSING – In case you missed it, in what’s shaping up to be an already contentious primary season, Republican Senate candidates are descending further into chaos vying for the endorsement of former President Trump. No matter who gets the nomination, one thing is clear — Republicans in Michigan are in for a messy election season. 

Read The Messenger’s deep dive into the Republicans’ disarray below: 

The Messenger: Trump’s Endorsement Threatens to Complicate Michigan Senate Primary
By Dan Merica and Matt Holt
September 7, 2023

Key Points:

  • Donald Trump’s endorsement is tantalizingly up for grabs in Michigan’s Republican Senate primary. And James Craig, the former Detroit chief of police, knows it.
  • Michigan’s Republican primary is shaping up to be one of the most contentious in the country, with a slew of Republicans eyeing the race. 
  • Former Rep. Mike Rogers announced his campaign on Wednesday and Peter Meijer, another former congressman, launched an exploratory committee last week. Both have been outspoken about their opposition to Trump – Meijer was one of ten House Republicans to vote for impeachment – making it nearly impossible that the former president endorses either.
  • Enter Craig, a more amorphous political figure who is clearly aware that his best path to victory is with Trump, someone who will spend considerable time and money in the state if he wins his party’s nomination for president next year. Craig has not announced a campaign but has told The Messenger he is “probably 99% certain” he will run.
  • Craig’s flirtations with the Trump lane began in a conversation with The Messenger last month and have been noticed by the former president’s orbit.
  • “I am not concerned about either candidate,” Craig told The Messenger last week in a phone interview when asked about Rogers and Meijer. “If I decide to do it, I believe I am the strongest candidate for U.S. senator.”
  • Asked about Trump, Craig added, “…I stand with him.” The next day, Craig expanded on these thoughts in an op-ed for the conservative website Daily Caller. Craig’s kind words for Trump have not gone unnoticed by Trump’s top aides and advisers – and, ostensibly, by Trump himself. Trump reposted the piece to his Truth Social account. 
  • Craig, Rogers, and Meijer are all vying for the chance to take on Rep. Elissa Slotkin, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination… Democrats have cheered Trump-world’s flirtations with Craig and the prospect of a messy primary in the battleground state.
  •  “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,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said when Rogers got into the race.
  • David Bergstein, a top operative with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, added, “The fight for Trump’s endorsement is going to make this already chaotic Republican primary even worse.”
  • [Rogers] has criticized Trump in the past on foreign policy and election integrity issues.
  • He once called Trump’s political tactics “destructive” and said Trump’s conduct leading to his first impeachment in 2019 was “highly inappropriate.”
  • Before he launched his Senate bid Rogers was considering running for president, and he would not commit to supporting [Trump] in 2024. 

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