Levin’s open seat has no certain takers
Where to begin?
For the first time in a long time a column on the ins and outs over the mad scramble to fill the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by incumbent Senator Carl Levin.
Nobody has written about this because it’s been 20 years since there was an open seat.
So here goes.
Following the initial shock waves that engulfed the Michigan political scene last week, it seemed like every name in the book was tossed on the speculation list.
At this read some prominent would-be candidates can be removed from the list.
Former Gov. Jim Blanchard. Out. Sure he’s deep into public service and loves to campaign, but not now.
Scott Romney, the elder brother to you know who. Out. “Not the right time for my family.”
Former GOP U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra. Out. “I had my shot.”
Current Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “An open seat for the U.S. Senate during a gubernatorial year is so rare you have to take a look at it.”
So he’s in?
Nope. He’s out. “I have no plans to run for the senate. This couldn’t come at a worse time in my life” with three kids at home ages, 8, 6 and 3. Do the math.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Who put his name on the list in the first place? It’d be incredible if he ran given his slow recovery from a near death-experience auto crash.
Bill Schuette, once described by a wag in the governor’s office as “always running for something,” is also a no. The GOP attorney general is willing to mark time until 2018 when he can run for governor, assuming the current governor is re-elected for the next four years. (Note: Mr. Calley is marking the same time.)
You gotta admit that’s a pretty impressive list of pols who don’t want in.
Which brings us to those who do or might.
Former GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is burning up the social media and the phones testing the waters. “She’s an intriguing candidate,” suggests GOP veteran pollster Steve Mitchell.
The West Michigan Repub has the connections, personal finances, and apparently the desire to do it. She does carry some baggage from her less-than-impressive bid for governor three years ago. Mr. Mitchell admits she “imploded” but is “older and wiser.”
She is reportedly trying to market herself to both the Tea Party wing and the establishment wing of her party which is a neat trick in and of itself.
Ms. Land has competition from fellow west Michigan Congressperson Justin Amash who does have legit T.P. credentials. But the establishment types are scared silly. Some fear if he wins a primary, the Democrats win the seat in the general election.
Laying claim to a more centrist persona is current GOP Congressman Mike Rogers from mid-Michigan. But his challenge? He chairs the mucho importante House Intelligence Committee and frankly, he can’t handle that and trapse around the state running for the senate at the same time.
For him it is either or, but so far it is neither.
Former GOP state chair Saul Anuzis in hanging around hoping somehow lightening strikes.
And even State School Superintendent Mike Flannagan surprised this town by suggesting he might run, too.
Why not, everybody else is and that could include former Gov. Granholm who remains on radio silence.
Also on the Democrat side, Debbie Dingell, wife of veteran Congressman John, is on the horn testing the waters.
But most eyes are on Congressman Gary Peters from Oakland County who would be dubbed the front-runner if he got in.
Anybody else who wants their name added to the list, get in touch.
Tim Skubick is Michigan’s Senior Capitol correspondent and has anchored the weekly public TV series Off the Record since 1972. He also covers the Capitol and politics for WLNS-TV6 in Lansing.