Fred Upton and a GOP Senate bid
Hello, central casting. Send over a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate who can win a general election race.
You bet. We’ve got somebody right here. Look for a phone call from West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton.
Hello, central casting. Send us a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate primary election. We hear Fred Upton would be perfect.
You got that wrong. He’s not your perfect primary contender because he’s not a dyed in the wool ultra-conservative kind of guy.
There in lies the conundrum for Mr. Upton as he seriously ponders giving up his safe GOP congressional seat that he’s held for 30 years to possibly run against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow for her Senate seat she’s held for 18 years. He’d have a good shot at beating her in November next year where the electorate is more diverse but can he survive a GOP primary where mostly conservative R’s will determine the outcome?
A source familiar with Mr. Upton’s current thinking is that he is already “90 percent there” in deciding to get in this thing. He’s calling around and reportedly being told two things: (1) voters are “sick’ of Ms. Stabenow because she is more interested in being a party leader along with Chuck Shurmer in Washington at the expense of her constituents back home and (2) the current GOP primary field of Bob Young, Sandy Pensler and John James is lackluster at best and second tier at worst.
While no final decision is at hand, he could get in as early as next month.
Mr. Upton is a bit of an anomaly in the Michigan GOP. He is not a Tea Party kind of guy. His former congressional aide of 10 years, Sen. John Proos reflects, “he doesn’t need to be a Tea Party voice.”
Sen. Proos points to the Upton record of “knowing all the right people in the all the right places and he has the respect of both sides of the aisle.”
That is true.
But if you are anti-government, anti-compromise with the enemy and are loathed to plunk for somebody who has been in D.C. for ions, is Mr. Upton your guy?
Former Democratic party chair Mark Brewer figures Mr. Upton has some “tough choices to make” which prompts him to ask, “Who is Fred Upton?”
Is he the moderate leaning guy who can work with both sides or does he cuddle up to the Trump wing of the party? “He’s been supporting the Trump agenda for eight months,” Mr. Brewer observes.
However an Upton source says his man is “not Donald Trump.”
Mr. Proos observes,” we’re still seeing what shakes out” regarding the Trump “X” factor in the 2018 elections. And he comes back to what he sees as his former bosses’ strength, “It’s about getting things done … He knows the levers” to do that.
Do ya think Trump voters are looking for a consummate Washington lever puller?