WORKING TO WIN
Following the early January announcement by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow that she would retire when her term ends in 2024, there appears to be a perimeter developing between those who are toying with the idea of running to replace her, and those who are serious about becoming a candidate. On the Democratic side, increasingly the waters are parting around Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), who prior to redistricting served Rochester, Rochester Hills and northern Oakland County, and gained loads of local admirers – including some on the other side of the aisle, who admire her centrist, down-to-earth approach to governing, as well as her military and CIA-intelligence officer background. A victor in three Republican-dominated districts, she is known to reach out and connect one-on-one, especially with women, explaining her positions. She attended MLK events in Lansing, Grand Rapids and Detroit – two locales outside her district. And following the downing of a possible spy balloon in Lake Huron, she made herself available to Michigan’s press as “someone who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.” While she provided limited clarity on the issue, she shone a light on herself. Word is Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor) is contemplating a run, but a greater likelihood is to make a play in an effort to better position herself in Democratic leadership – she has condemned the current bicoastal House leadership. While Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist’s name is being bandied about, it seems an unlikely reach. Although some are viewing Slotkin’s support as a given party coronation, a new name being floated is actor, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist Hill Harper, who grew up in Detroit. He has been a full-time resident here since 2016 and lives in a former Fisher mansion he purchased in tony Indian Village. Harper was on the series “CSI:NY,” where he played Dr. Sheldon Hawkes and won three NAACP Image Awards; is currently on “The Good Doctor,” was on “Homeland,” “Covert Affairs,” “Limitless,” has had four New York Times bestsellers, and was appointed to serve on President Barack Obama’s President’s Cancer Panel in 2011. Harper currently has 439,000 Twitter followers and 542,000 Facebook friends. A new Facebook group, ‘Hill Harper for Senate,’ formed in the last month, now has 757 members, including some familiar Oakland County faces. He appeared at and worked the recent state Democratic convention at which he spoke about his run for the Senate to the Progressive Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party. Word is he is traveling the state, showing his recognizable face. He could potentially be a formidable candidate and could draw heavily from the Black vote in Detroit and surrounding areas, a critical factor in the upcoming election.