One Year Out: Senate Primary

One year from today, Michigan voters will go to the polls and vote in their respective parties’ primary elections. One notable race on the primary ballot will be the race for U.S. Senate. The senior U.S. Senator from Michigan, Debbie Stabenow, is up for reelection in 2018, and Republicans hope to unseat her. Here are the candidates (and potential candidates) for the U.S. Senate election.


Debbie Stabenow

Incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow has served in the Senate since 2001, when she unseated Republican Spencer Abraham. She has an 8% Liberty Score from Conservative Review and a 2% lifetime score from Heritage Action Scorecard. Senator Stabenow is the Chairwoman of the Senate Democrats‘ Policy & Communications Committee. Throughout her tenure in the Senate, she has consistently voted far toward the left, especially as the Democrat Party itself moves left.

Craig Smith

Craig Allen Smith is some leftist Democrat who is primary-challenging Debbie Stabenow for some reason. He won’t win or even come close, and his website is extremely ugly and unprofessional. I doubt I will ever mention this guy again, but I wanted to cover everyone in the race.

Debbie Stabenow will undoubtedly win her primary.


There are currently four Republican candidates who are openly running or considering a run for U.S. Senate.

Lena Epstein

Lena Epstein is a co-owner of Vesco Oil Corporation, a family business in Southfield, Michigan. In 2016, she was the co-chair of Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign in Michigan, and she has stated that she is an unapologetic defender of Trump. Lena’s campaign platform seems solidly conservative, but I hope she will unapologetically stand up to the President when he goes against that platform.

Bob Young, Jr.

Bob Young is a former Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, where he served from 1999 until April of this year. During that time, he was chosen by his colleagues to serve as Chief Justice (2011-2017). He has a strong record as a Constitutionalist judge, and he is running to be a Constitutionalist senator. Bob Young was on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

John James

Former Army Ranger John James is the President of James Group International, a Detroit-based business specializing in supply chain management services. James announced in a video that he is exploring a run for Senate, in which he voiced support for the right to life (at every stage) and the Second Amendment. Although he has not officially announced, Mr. James has gotten much positive reaction to his campaign exploration, and an official kickoff will no doubt be coming shortly.

Robert Ritchie (Kid Rock)

Kid Rock is a professional rocker whose political record consists almost entirely of presidential endorsements (Mitt Romney and Donald Trump). He has teased a run recently, but is currently focusing efforts on voter registration. Kid Rock has said that he will make an announcement about the future of his run in the next 6 weeks or so. I have already stated my thoughts on Kid Rock’s candidacy, here.

Fred Upton

6th District Congressman Fred Upton has also been named as a potential GOP challenger to Stabenow. Upton is a moderate/liberal Republican, and he has made no indication that he is running or exploring a run.

In hypothetical polls, Kid Rock has led the primary field with a large margin, but he may not run, and a lot can happen in one year. I certainly hope we can elect a solid conservative who can defeat Debbie Stabenow and serve our state well.

The gubernatorial primary will also be held on August 7, 2018. See my summary of that race here.


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