Actor Hill Harper has entered the race for Michigan's 2024 Senate seat, a primary expected to be one of the most closely watched next campaign season.
"We can all feel it: D.C. just isn't getting things done for people," Harper tweeted Monday. "We need representatives who'll take on special interests, get money out of politics, and make our government work for all of us."
Harper's announcement Monday makes him the sixth Democratic candidate vying to replace Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is not seeking a fifth term in the battleground state. He'll be running to the left of fellow candidate Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a moderate Democrat who has been considered a top contender since launching her candidacy in February.
But Harper said he'll usher in "a new beginning" for the state, saying "we need new voices, new perspectives, and a new system overhaul in Washington."
"There's a high degree of frustration by a lot of Democrats ― not just African-American Democrats in Michigan ― that for the first time in 57 years Michigan does not have a Black Democratic representative in Congress. And that is going backwards," he told The Detroit News.
If elected, the actor would be only the fourth Black man currently serving in the U.S. Senate.
Harper is known for his roles in shows like "The Good Doctor" and "CSI: NY." But outside of his camera work, the Iowa native is a single dad, lawyer and owner of a coffee shop in Detroit, where he and his son live. He addressed his son in his campaign announcement video, saying the world he's growing up in is increasingly divisive and dangerous.
Though he says he's not a career politician, this isn't Harper's first bout near the realm. He served on former President Barack Obama's cancer panel in 2012 as a survivor himself.
But this will definitely be a more competitive push for an appointment, with Slotkin already raising $5.8 million in the four months since her announcement. Other Democratic candidates include former Detroit state Rep. Leslie Love, State Board of Education member Pamela Pugh, attorney Zach Burns and businessman Nasser Beydoun.
And besides the pressure of competition is the pressure from Democrats to win the race itself. The seat, which Democrats lost in 2016, is crucial for the the party to keep control of the Senate, as it's not the only battleground seat it has to defend. Other touch races include Ohio, West Virginia, Montana, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
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