The race for outgoing Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat appears to be in a dead heat between candidates across the aisle, according to a Wednesday poll.
Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin, the clear frontrunner of her party’s Senate primary, is neck and neck with all three of the prominent Republicans running for the seat, according to a Detroit News/WDIV-TV survey. The Democrat was losing to former Detroit Police Chief James Craig by 2 points, tied with former Rep. Peter Meijer and up by only 1 point against former Rep. Mike Rogers.
“All three are essentially a toss-up. We see James Craig like 2 points ahead of Slotkin at this stage, simply because of I think increased name ID out of southeast Michigan,” Richard Czuba, pollster for Glengariff Group, the firm that conducted the poll, told The Detroit News. “But we see with the other two that it’s dead even. They’re all within the margin of error.”
Ted Goodman, senior adviser to Craig’s campaign, touted the former police chief’s background in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation regarding the poll’s findings.
“Chief James Craig is leading this race because of his authenticity and successful career in law enforcement,” Goodman said. “While other candidates in this race will brag about their support from the permanent Washington political class and their deep-pocketed donors who they will have to answer to; Chief James Craig can’t be bought and won’t be told what to do by anyone other than the people of Michigan.”
However, a significant portion of the likely general election voters polled remained undecided in each matchup, according to the survey.
The Meijer campaign senior adviser Scott Greenlee argued that they expected similar polling numbers at this point in the cycle.
“As we have now moved into the election year, candidates will start to introduce themselves to the voters and lay out the vision for how they will represent the people of Michigan,” Greenlee told the DCNF. “Everything is bunched now, and we look forward to watching the numbers move as more and more people get a chance to meet and hear from Peter. He is an extremely well qualified candidate who will fair very well in the general election against the Democratic nominee, whomever that will be.”
Rogers’ campaign took aim at the other candidates for losing previous elections in a statement to the DCNF regarding the poll’s findings.
“Between the lawlessness at the border and massive increase in prices at the hands of Joe Biden and Elissa Slotkin, Michiganders are sick and tired of their complete and utter failures,” said Chris Gustafson, communications director for the Rogers campaign. “Mike Rogers is committed to getting America back on track, meeting with voters all across Michigan, and has already collected the signatures required to get on the ballot. Mike is the only candidate in the GOP field to have never lost an election.”
Meijer, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in 2021, lost a second term after being primaried by a Trump-endorsed candidate in 2022. Craig ran in the Republican primary for governor the same year, but only received 2% support.
Rogers served in the House from 2001 to 2015, leaving the lower chamber when he decided not to seek reelection. The National Republican Senatorial Committee recruited Rogers for the seat, along with other Republicans in Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Previous polling indicated Slotkin had larger leads over the Republican candidates, according to FiveThirtyEight’s survey compilation.
All three of the Republicans recently jumped in the race, while Slotkin has been campaigning since February 2023. The Democrat has since brought in $8.9 million, and has $5.2 million cash on hand, according to the most recent data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The seat is currently in the “Lean D” column in The Cook Political Report’s analysis, along with other contentious Senate races in Wisconsin, Nevada and Pennsylvania. The last time Michigan had a Republican senator was with Stabenow’s predecessor, Spencer Abraham, who left office in 2001.
The Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll surveyed 600 likely general election voters in Michigan between Jan. 2 and Jan. 6 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
Slotkin’s campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Mary Lou Masters on January 11, 2024