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Perry Johnson in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, July 28, 2023.
Perry Johnson in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, July 28.Charlie Neibergall / AP file

Presidential longshot Perry Johnson considers a pivot to Michigan Senate

The Republican is weighing a run for Michigan’s open Senate seat in 2024 as his presidential bid remains stuck in low-polling territory.


Longshot presidential candidate Perry Johnson is mulling a run for Senate in his home state of Michigan should his stagnating bid for the presidency fail.

The Michigan businessman, who has spent millions of his own dollars but has gotten almost no traction in the polls, would face competition from experienced politicians on both sides of the aisle for Michigan’s open Senate seat in 2024. Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election.

When asked by NBC News if he has evaluated dropping his bid for the presidency after missing the second GOP debate, Johnson said, “If I didn’t think I could do well in Iowa or New Hampshire… maybe I have to look at running for Senate.”

Johnson has not gotten more than 1 percent support in any national or state poll in the FiveThirtyEight database in the past month.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that we obviously have a seat open here in Michigan, and I am a Republican,” said Johnson, implying a pivot toward the Senate race would be an obvious next step.

Johnson claims Michiganders are clamoring for him to run for Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s soon-to-be vacant Senate seat.  “I’ve only had, what, somewhere between 100 to 150 calls [to be] running for Senate,” said Johnson.

“It is something that my wife and I are seriously discussing,” he added.

Former Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer are among the Republican candidates who have already declared campaigns, while Rep. Elissa Slotkin and other Democrats are preparing for a primary on their side, too. Yet none of them have Johnson’s millions in personal funds ready to burn on political campaigns.

The businessman hasn’t shied away from splashing cash on his presidential bid. And he also tried to put his spending power to use in Michigan’s 2022 gubernatorial race — but was disqualified from the GOP primary, after Michigan’s Bureau of Elections deemed more than 9,000 of the voter signatures needed to qualify were “invalid.”