Former Rep. Peter Meijer ends Michigan GOP Senate campaign

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Former Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost his House seat after voting to impeach then-President Donald Trump, has dropped out of a crowded Republican Senate primary in Michigan.

Angela Benander, a spokesperson for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, confirmed to NBC News that Meijer withdrew his candidacy ahead of a Friday afternoon deadline. 

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“I got into this race because I believed I had the strongest chance of winning in November to work to right this ship and reverse trendlines that have only gotten worse over these past months,” Meijer said in a statement.

“The hard reality is the fundamentals of the race have changed significantly since we launched this campaign,” Meijer, who had filed campaign petitions earlier in the week, added. “After prayerful consideration, today I withdrew my name from the primary ballot. Without a strong pathway to victory, continuing this campaign only increases the likelihood of a divisive primary that would distract from the essential goal — conservative victories in November.”

Former Rep. Mike Rogers, who has been endorsed by Trump and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has in recent months consolidated GOP support ahead of an August primary that also includes former Rep. Justin Amash, entrepreneur Sandy Pensler and physician Sherry O’Donnell. James Craig, a former Detroit police chief who had been viewed as a top contender for the nomination, dropped out of the race earlier and endorsed Rogers.

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Rep. Elissa Slotkin is the front-runner in a Democratic field that also features actor Hill Harper and businessman Nasser Beydoun.

Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow is not seeking a fourth term. Her retirement has set up what’s expected to be a competitive race in a presidential battleground.

Meijer, given his past criticism of Trump and his vote to impeach him after the January 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, had always been viewed as a long shot. Amash, another Trump critic whom Meijer succeeded in Congress, had voted to impeach Trump in 2019.

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But Meijer had sought to soften his stance on Trump, acknowledging in a Politico interview last year that he was prepared to vote for whomever Republicans nominated for president in 2024. Trump has won enough delegates to secure the nomination.

Trump responded Friday night to Meijer’s withdrawal, citing his support for impeachment.

“Once he raised his very little and delicate hand to Impeach President Trump, his Political Career was OVER!” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Last time he lost in the Primary to a nice, but unknown, person, and now he lost to a GREAT Candidate, Mike Rogers, who will easily WIN the Nomination, and go on to WIN the Senate, BIG, in Michigan.”

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