LANSING, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers announced Friday he will not run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan next year, saying the best way for him to make a difference in Washington is staying in the House.
In an email to supporters, the seventh-term Howell Republican pointed out his role as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
"For me, the significance and depth of the impact I can make on my constituent's behalf far outweighs the perceived importance of any title I might hold," said Rogers, whose fundraising prowess, base in southeastern Michigan and high-profile role made him a favorite within the GOP.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Carl Levin announced in March that he would not run for a seventh six-year term in 2014. U.S. Rep. Gary Peters is running for the Democratic nomination.
Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is the only Republican running so far. She won statewide in 2002 and 2006.
Rogers' decision was not a surprise. The 50-year-old former FBI agent, who is invited regularly to talk about national security issues on TV, said intelligence issues will continue to be at the forefront of American national security concerns — citing challenges in Syria, Iran, North Korea, North Africa, Afghanistan and China.
He said his constituents sent him to Washington to do something.
"With these marching orders, I believe that from my current position I am best able to have a real, positive impact on protecting our nation and her citizens," Rogers said.
Just one Michigan Republican has won a Senate seat in 40 years. Spencer Abraham's 1994 victory came in a nonpresidential election year like 2014 will be. He lost six years later to Democrat Debbie Stabenow.
While Land is the only Republican to jump into the race, it is early.
Another exploring a run is Ypsilanti cardiologist Rob Steele, who ran against Democratic Rep. John Dingell in 2010 and decided against a 2012 Senate bid. Second-term U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, a favorite of libertarians, also has expressed interest.
Another possible candidate, former state GOP chairman Saul Anuzis, said earlier this week he was comfortable waiting to see if Land and possibly Steele can build an effective campaign.
Rogers did not endorse any candidate Friday but said the GOP has a "deep bench." State Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak also said he had no doubt Republicans would field a strong candidate.
Democrats, meanwhile, said the GOP's inability to recruit Rogers is a big loss.
"Republicans have not won a Senate seat in Michigan in nearly 20 years and Congressman Rogers was the only person that Karl Rove and national Republicans thought could make this a real race," Matt Canter, deputy executive director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
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