NATIONAL NEWS

GOP businessman Sandy Pensler joins crowded field of Senate candidates in Michigan

Dec 1, 2023, 8:35 AM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Detroit-area businessman Sandy Pensler launched his second campaign for U.S. Senate on Friday, joining close to a dozen other Republican candidates in Michigan who are hoping to flip the open seat for the first time in over two decades.

Pensler lost the GOP primary for Senate in 2018 by over 9 percentage points to now-U.S. Rep. John James, who would go on to lose to incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Pensler poured millions into his primary bid at the time.

“The American experiment is in big trouble. It’s burning,” Pensler said in campaign video Friday. “I believe we can turn it around but we need to apply basic morals, take responsibility and fight like hell.”

Pensler joins a crowded field of Republican candidates that includes former U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers and Peter Meijer and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig. The Republicans are vying for a seat that’s been held by Democrats since 2001 but that will be vacated by Stabenow, who is retiring at the end of next year.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin has led a field of Democratic candidates that also includes actor Hill Harper. Slotkin had nearly $4 million more in the bank than any other Senate candidate through September, according to campaign finance numbers released in October.

Pensler owns Pensler Capital, an investment group, and The Korex Cos., which manufactures detergents and cleaners. In 2018, Pensler said that he contributed nearly $5 million of his own money to jumpstart his campaign.

In his campaign video posted to social media, Pensler said it was time to take “the Senate back from the morons.”

Former President Donald Trump’s potential endorsement in the Senate race could have a large impact in a state that he won in 2016. Trump endorsed James over Pensler in 2018.

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GOP businessman Sandy Pensler joins crowded field of Senate candidates in Michigan