LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Mike Rogers, who served in Congress for 14 years and chaired the House Intelligence Committee, is running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan that Democrats have held for over two decades.
The announcement, which was provided to The Associated Press in a campaign video on Wednesday, instantly shakes up a Senate race that had been relatively quiet and dominated by Democratic candidates. It’s seen as a recruiting victory for Michigan Republicans, who have struggled to win statewide races with a state party in turmoil.
An Army veteran and former FBI agent, Rogers was elected to Congress in 2000 and served seven terms in the House, the last two as chair of the committee that oversees U.S. intelligence agencies. He left office in 2015 and served briefly on Trump’s transition team as an adviser on national security issues.
“I thought I put politics behind but, like you, I know something’s broken,” Rogers said in the campaign video that attacks President Joe Biden.
“No candidate is better prepared to have an impact on day one. I’m ready to serve again,” Rogers continued.
The 60-year-old Rogers becomes the fourth Republican to enter the race, joining candidates inlcuding state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder. The GOP field is expected to grow in the coming months with multiple Republicans, including former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, still considering campaigns.
Steve Daines, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement that Rogers “can perform well with suburban Michiganders,” and that he is “pleased to see Mike stepping up to run.”
A shock retirement announcement from longtime Sen. Debbie Stabenow in January created a wide open race for a seat she had held since 2001. The GOP has not won a Michigan U.S. Senate race since 1994.
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat, entered the race in February and has built a significant fundraising and endorsement advantage over all other candidates.
Defending the Michigan seat may prove crucial for Democrats, who face tough headwinds as they defend seats in Republican-leaning states from West Virginia to Montana and Ohio. Republicans are looking to take control of the Senate in 2024; Democrats currently hold a slim 51-49 majority.
Rogers had initially denied rumors he planned to run for Senate following Stabenow’s announcement and explored a presidential bid earlier this year, traveling to New Hampshire and Iowa to talk with voters and local media.
Read more from the Associated Press.