Harper’s Bid for the Democratic Nomination Sets him on a Direct Collision Course with U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Hill Harper, the well-known actor recognized for his roles in hit television shows such as “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor,” has declared his candidacy for Michigan’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Harper’s bid for the Democratic nomination sets him on a direct collision course with U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin.

With Harper’s entry into the race, he becomes the sixth Democratic contender vying for the seat left open by retiring Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

A four-term senator, Stabenow announced her decision not to seek re-election in 2024, adding to the significance of the battleground state’s upcoming election.

Although born in Iowa, Harper has established strong ties to Michigan. He owns a residence in Detroit and made a notable investment in the city’s business landscape by purchasing Roasting Plant Coffee in 2017.

Before pursuing an acting career, Harper attended Brown University and Harvard Law School.

His extensive acting portfolio includes a nine-season run on the CBS show “CSI: NY” and a current role on ABC’s “The Good Doctor.”

Harper’s involvement in public service extends beyond the entertainment industry. In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Harper to his cancer panel because of his personal experience as a cancer survivor.

Harper’s background as a small-business owner, union member, and activist positions him as a unique candidate who emphasizes his status as a non-career politician.

He declared that his campaign would be “powered by the people, for the people,” hoping that this trait would give him an advantage in Congress.

In an interview with The Associated Press leading up to his announcement, Harper stressed the importance of representing the people rather than focusing on party lines.

He said he believed Michigan residents desired an independent voice in the U.S. Senate.

Harper faces the daunting challenge of catching up to Slotkin’s impressive fundraising efforts and established campaign.

Slotkin, who has garnered endorsements from fellow U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, has raised $5.8 million in just over four months, with $3.6 million remaining unspent.

Initially, many prominent Democratic candidates considering a Senate run chose not to compete after Slotkin’s announcement in February.
However, in recent months, the field of Democratic candidates has expanded.

State Board of Education member Pamela Pugh, former Detroit State Rep. Leslie Love, businessman Nasser Beydoun, and Attorney Zack Burns have all thrown their hats into the ring.

Michigan holds significant importance for the Democratic Party, as the state represents a must-win for maintaining control of the Senate.
Democrats anticipate tough races in other battleground states like Ohio, West Virginia, Montana, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

In the 2020 election, Republican John James narrowly lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, who now serves as a U.S.
Representative.

While two GOP candidates, including State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder, have declared their intentions to run, Republicans have yet to field a high-profile contender for the seat.

Notable figures like former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer are reportedly considering bids.

Republicans have been successful in only one of Michigan’s last 15 Senate races, securing an open seat victory in 1994.

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