Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin announced her candidacy for the Senate in Michigan today with an air of inevitability—and yet there’s a sneaking suspicion among Democrats that she could be headed for a brutal primary. The last thing the party wants is a civil war in a battleground state, especially at a time when Republicans are trying to prove that they can rally around an electable candidate, like Peter Meijer (even if they just elected an election-denier as their G.O.P. party chair).
Slotkin is a veritable money-raising machine with the quiet support of retiring Senator Debbie Stabenow, who has been carefully trying to persuade potential challengers to look toward the open gubernatorial seat in 2026 instead of her open seat in 2024. Two potential challengers dropped away last week: State Senator Mallory McMorrow, Slotkin’s ambitious friend and a Lis Smith client, who went viral for her floor speech against school restrictions on gender and race topics; and the popular Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, who said he wouldn’t run this weekend after old anti-Israel tweets surfaced, likely putting him in AIPAC’s crosshairs.
Gilchrist, who is Black, had been aggressively courted by Cory Booker, perhaps the latest sign that leaders in the party fret over whether Slotkin, a white woman, can win over Black voters in Detroit. “We’re going to have a primary,” former congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (who could also run for the seat) told me. “This isn’t going to be a one person race. We’ll see who steps up to the plate. I for one am very motivated to see an African-American candidate.”