LANSING — The gloves are off, and the primary is getting nasty. The “combative” and “combustible” Michigan GOP Senate Showdown is “heat[ing] up” as the candidates duke it out. Revolving Door Rogers finds himself in more hot water with new reports that he “personally benefited from his connections to China in opposition to U.S. national security interests.” 

Here’s the latest on the “combative” and “combustible” GOP primary: 

  • In a radio interview today, Pensler didn’t hold back in his attack on Rogers and his wife “mak[ing] millions off of” their work walking through the revolving door, lobbying and advocating for Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company. 
  • Meanwhile on Off the Record Overtime today, Sherry O’Donnell also attacked Rogers, saying that his residency issues are “gaining traction” among Republican voters who are getting the message that Rogers is a “carpetbagger” who is “not for the people.” O’Donnell said it’s “nonsense that [Rogers is] for Michigan” with his 728 square foot house here compared to his $1.7 million mansion in Florida.
  • What’s the opposite of momentum? On today’s Off the Record, O’Donnell highlights how Trump rally attendees were chanting her name anytime Rogers got on stage and was mentioned.
  • And on last week’s Off the Record, reporters highlighted the “uphill battle” that Republicans face in the Senate race as they “play catch up.” 

See for yourself: 

Heartland Signal: Michigan Senate candidate spews anti-China rhetoric despite working to expand Chinese companies and personal wealth

  • Michigan Republican Senate candidate Mike Rogers’ campaign website is filled with tough on China rhetoric, even though he has a long record of helping expand the reach of Chinese companies in the U.S. and Europe.
  • In direct contrast to these words, Rogers opposed trade restrictions on China during his 14 years in Congress from 2001-2015. In 2005, Rogers did not cosponsor a bill to withdraw permanent normal trade relations with China, despite several House Republicans doing so.
  • Rogers has also personally benefited from his connections to China in opposition to U.S. national security interests.
  • According to Rogers’ own financial disclosures from December, he worked as a risk analyst for the American branch of the European technology company Nokia for the last seven years, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars. During Rogers’ tenure with Nokia, the company has conducted extensive business deals with Chinese tech companies like Huawei.
  • Since 2018, the U.S. has sanctioned Huawei and prohibited the government from using the company’s products over national security concerns […] At the same time, Nokia was strengthening its connections with Huawei, with a licensing deal in December 2022 and another one with a Huawei subsidiary called Honor in 2024. According to Rogers’ financial disclosures, he did not leave Nokia after these deals were closed and still gets paid as a risk analyst to this day.

Inside Elections“Pensler, who has contributed $3 million of his own money to his campaign, is now airing ads attacking Rogers… Pensler’s money makes this primary more interesting, and Rogers has been a less-than-impressive fundraiser — he raised just $1 million in the first three months of the year.” 

All TalkPensler: “And I know that’s happened multiple times with Mr. Rogers. It happens with Chinese coverage. Well, he calls out using Huawei, but he takes a contract and his wife takes contracts from joint ventures with Chinese telecoms and makes millions off of that. He says, “Gee, I’m down in Florida,” but really you don’t know if he’s here or not. Does he have a house here? What’s his address? You need to be beyond reproach on this stuff and he’s just not. So I’m not sure what all of his motivations are, but I think in general, our politicians shouldn’t be able to lobby the groups that they oversaw when they were in office afterwards and make millions. And I don’t think they should be able to have relatives, especially their wives, profiting from doing work in areas that they’re overseeing.”

All TalkPensler: “I agree 100%. I think Mike Rogers should be disqualified from ever taking office.”

Off the Record OvertimeZach Gorchow: “There’s this residency issue with Mike Rogers.

Is that gaining any traction among grassroots voters that you talked to? This is the idea that he, of course… moved to Florida around about 2015, just moved back in time to run for the U.S. Senate. Some Republicans, a lot of Democrats are, you know, tagging him as a carpetbagger. Is that gaining any traction or is that not much of an issue?” … Sherry O’Donnell: “That comes up repetitively as I go to these meetings, and the fact that he had a 728 square foot home here in Michigan only to get on the ballot. They are all seeing through that. He has a $1.7 million home in Florida. And he came up here after touring New Hampshire and Iowa to try to get the presidential nominee. And when it didn’t happen, he moved to Michigan, bought a 728 square foot home. So those people that are informed and realize it, yes, it is gaining traction. And that’s been the term that’s been, he’s been accused of… But it does send the message that he’s not for the people. When he stepped down out of Congress in 2015, if he was for Michigan, why did he move to Florida? I’m sorry. If you’re for Michigan, you’re going to stay with Michigan. You’re going to continue to help Michigan. So the nonsense that he’s for Michigan is just that. It’s nonsense. And to your question, it is gaining some momentum that he’s a carpetbagger, but he’s not for the people. And the people are tired of the political rhetoric. They’re tired of recycled politicians.” 

Off the Record OvertimeZach Gorchow: “Do you think Mike Rogers is in sync with today’s Republican Party?”… Sherry O’Donnell: “Oh. Absolutely not.” … Gorchow: “Why not?” … O’Donnell: “He is deep state. And even Rand Paul had put out a scathing rebuttal, I don’t know if you saw his rebuttal, but he put out a scathing rebuttal that Mike Rogers is a dangerous candidate, and it was the worst endorsement that President Trump could have done. And that’s the message that’s being sent. Dave Agema… former State Rep, he put out a rebuttal and he showed the houses, by the way, side by side and said he is not to be trusted. The people do not trust him.”

Off the Record: Sherry O’Donnell: “But when I was at the Trump rally that was in Saginaw, I can tell you that every time that Trump did a call-out to Mike [Rogers] and Mike got up and spoke for a few minutes. And the audience started chanting Sherry, Sherry three different times. And there was thousands of people there.”

Fox News: Republican Senate primary in crucial Michigan race heats up… 

  • The GOP Senate primary in battleground Michigan is becoming more combative as a wealthy investor making his second bid for office is pouring big bucks into a major statewide ad blitz that takes aim at [Mike Rogers]… 
  • And a new campaign commercial from businessman Sandy Pensler, which launches statewide on Monday in Michigan, hits former Rep. Mike Rogers… 
  • The ad, shared first with Fox News on Monday, is the latest from the deep-pocketed entrepreneur who’s self-funding his Senate bid. The spot is part of what Pensler’s campaign says is a seven-figure ad buy on broadcast and cable TV and digital.
  • Besides Rogers and Pensler, the crowded GOP primary field also includes former Rep. Justin Amash.
  • …Republicans were hoping to avoid a potentially costly and combustible primary… 
  • But Pensler is vowing to run ads straight through the Aug. 6 primary.
  • “He’s going to spend a serious amount,” Pensler campaign senior adviser Stu Sandler told Fox News. “We’re just going to keep putting them on the air.”

Detroit News“Pensler’s campaign said the ad is running as part of a seven-figure statewide buy on broadcast, cable and digital platforms.”

WJR All Talk: Rogers: “And I tell you, if you [Pensler] have to stoop this low and be this dishonest, that ought to be a disqualifier for running for the United States Senate.”

Local LivePensler: “And by the way, that moral direction is the same problem that my opponent in the primary has. And we’re calling him out on it.”

Big League Politics“Unfortunately for the people of Michigan, President Trump endorsed Rogers for U.S. Senate despite his history of… enriching himself and his wife in the Washington D.C. swamp… Trump would be wise to consider rescinding his endorsement of Rogers.” 

Off the RecordJordyn Hermani: “Yeah, I mean it just kind of underscores the fact that Republicans are playing catch up here. Obviously, they had to tangle with the Karamo Administration of the state Republican party that did not do many favors towards recruiting candidates, getting our ducks in a row for running for things like Senate or various state houses, U.S. House districts. So you know, it’s an uphill battle…” 

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