Another Michigan Democrat endorsed Rep. Elissa Slotkin for Senate, further solidifying institutional support behind the perceived front-runner for the seat.
Rep. Hillary Scholten became the second member of Michigan’s Democratic congressional delegation to back Slotkin for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Keeping the seat Democratic is crucial to the party’s chances of remaining in control of the U.S. Senate in 2024.
“For years, I’ve watched Elissa stand out as a leader who rolls up her sleeves and gets to work on the real issues that are affecting Michiganders on a day-to-day basis,” Scholten, a Democrat from western Michigan, said in a statement to HuffPost.
“Over the last 11 months as her colleague, I’ve seen her move mountains on behalf of the communities she represents. Her commitment to actually getting things done and giving a voice to all of her constituents puts her in a league of her own, and I know she’s exactly the person we need representing Michigan in the U.S. Senate.”
Scholten won a district where Donald Trump beat Joe Biden in 2020, succeeding former Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost the 2022 Republican primary after voting to impeach Trump. On Monday, Meijer announced he was seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Michigan.
Scholten’s endorsement signals that moderate Democrats believe Slotkin, who also hails from a competitive congressional district, is the best candidate to face a Republican in the general election.
In June, Slotkin won the support of fellow Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens, her first key endorsement from Michigan’s congressional delegation.
On Thursday, Slotkin also clinched the endorsement of Michigan Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, who praised her for “protecting … women’s reproductive rights and [addressing] gun violence.”
Michigan’s primary isn’t until August 2024, but Slotkin is already consolidating significant support behind her campaign. Her closest competitor is actor and progressive activist Hill Harper, who raised $770,000 in the last quarter on top of a $250,000 personal loan. Slotkin far outraised Harper from July through September, bringing in nearly $3 million and ending the quarter with $5 million cash on hand.
While Democrats are coalescing around Slotkin, a leading candidate has yet to emerge on the Republican side. Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is the establishment pick, while former Detroit Police Chief James Craig appears to be angling for Trump’s support. It’s not clear what path Meijer has to the nomination.
Michigan is one of five states with an open Senate seat up for election next year. But it’s the only state where the general election will be remotely competitive.
Biden won Michigan in 2020, and Democrats swept the midterm races there two years later. However, a new poll shows Biden slipping with the Michigan electorate against Trump, a sign that Democrats might have a harder time than expected holding the state in 2024.