GRAND RAPIDS – Peter Meijer, a Republican who served one term in Congress before being ousted by voters following a vote to impeach then-President Trump, announced Monday that he will run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan.
Meijer joins a field of more than a dozen candidates vying for the seat that’s been held by Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow for more than two decades. Stabenow shocked many in the state in January by announcing her retirement, creating a wide open race in the battleground state.
“My wife and I prayed hard about this race and how we can best serve our state and our nation,” Meijer said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We considered every aspect of the campaign, and are confident we have the best chance of taking back this seat for the Republicans and fighting hard for a conservative future.
“We are in dark and uncertain times, but we have made it through worse,” he added. “The challenges are great, but so is our country. If we are to see another great American century, we need leaders who aren’t afraid to be bold, will do the work and can’t be bought.”
Peter Meijer, who supported Trump’s impeachment, enters Michigan’s U.S. Senate race
Meijer, who is from Grand Rapids, is an heir to a Midwestern grocery store empire. His name recognition and fundraising ability instantly make him a top candidate in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races. He joins former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig in the Republican field, while the Democratic field includes U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, actor Hill Harper and businessman Nasser Beydoun.
Beydoun, a 58-year-old restaurant owner, is the former chairman and executive director of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce. He plans a campaign kickoff event for 11 a.m. Wednesday in Detroit, he said.
Meijer is a former Army reserve officer who served in Iraq. He was seen as part of the next generation of Republican leaders when he was elected to the U.S. House in 2020 at only 32-years-old. But a vote to impeach Trump just two weeks into Meijer’s first term made him an immediate target of Trump loyalists.
Meijer was among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in 2021 following the deadly mob siege of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He would go on to lose reelection to a Trump-backed primary opponent in 2022 despite having a significant fundraising advantage.
Questions still linger about whether a moderate candidate who voted to impeach Trump can survive a Republican primary. Trump won Michigan in 2016, and his endorsed candidates have overwhelmingly won primaries before losing by wide margins in general elections.
If Meijer could get past the GOP primary, he likely would present a formidable challenge to the Democratic nominee. His surname is one of the most recognizable in the state, and his reputation as a moderate Republican could help in a state that’s trended Democratic in recent years.
Republicans have taken just one of Michigan’s last 15 Senate races, but the margin of victory for Democrats has shrunk every election since Democratic Sen. Carl Levin won reelection in 2008 by a 29 percent margin. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters won reelection over GOP challenger John James by less than 2 percent in 2020, the closest race in more than two decades.
Defending the Michigan seat could prove crucial for Democrats in their effort to maintain the Senate, where the party holds a 51-49 majority and also faces tough headwinds as they defend seats in Republican-leaning states from West Virginia to Montana and Ohio.