Meijer’s path to senate bid

Let’s pretend it’s two months ago and we are all sitting in a strategy skull session at the home of West Michigan Republican Peter Meijer (yeah, the grocery store Meijer) and his team.

He and friends are trying to decide his next political move, forcing him to choose between running for his old congressional seat that he lost to Donald Trump’s chosen candidate because Meijer voted to impeach the former president.

The other option is to run for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination for a chance to replace Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who is retiring from that august body.

Hum … What to do?

The strategists lay out the variables that will go into the decision.

Let’s start with a critical one: He is a new daddy bear, with baby Fredrick laying over there in the crib … thankfully, not hungry or crying. It’s the first offspring for him and his bride, and little do they know what they are in for (shh, don’t tell them).

Running for either office will take him out of the nursery for who knows how long. Clearly, running for the Senate is the tougher assignment, as it is a statewide race. Theoretically, he would need to carry the Meijer flag — or, in this case, perhaps the Meijer grocery bag — into all 83 of Michigan’s counties at least once, and others even more so.

Running for Congress means fewer counties, fewer hours away from home, and here’s the biggy: less money required to win. A Senate contest could run well into the millions, give or take. Congress considerably less.

Then there is the competition.

Close to a dozen Republicans want the Senate nomination. Most don’t have a snowball’s chance, but they still have enough ego to think they could win. Meijer clearly has name ID, even though most voters really don’t know squat about him. On a crowded ballot, the name would jump out at voters who haven’t bothered to get to know any of the contenders.

His major opponents are former congressman Mike Rogers and former Detroit Police Chief and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate James Craig.

Rogers appears to be the frontrunner and is making strong inroads with the wealthy donor base of the state Republican Party. The “major funders,” as they are affectionately known, are opening their checkbooks.

Meijer has conceded, “I don’t have the support of the establishment party.”

Which means he has the option to put the arm on all those rich relatives and do what they call in the biz “self-funding” by dipping into the Meijer pot of gold.

Then the talk turned to the elephant over in the corner: Donald Trump.

Craig has cuddled up to the Donald, hoping against hope that the former president endorses him or, at the very least, says the other two guys are worthless. Either way, Craig could win with that something that the other two will never get.

Meijer has said he will vote for Trump if Trump gets the Republican presidential nomination, and he has also said he believes Trump should not be booted from the ballot.

But, he admits, “I will support the GOP nominee. I’m not going to say that will come easily.”

Is that enough to convince Trump to remain neutral?


So comes time for a decision.

The Meijer guys turn to you: “What should we do?”

Dollars to donuts, based on all those factors, you advise him to run for Congress.

Nice try, boys and girls.

That’s the easy way out, and he is not that kinda guy, so he professes: “I’m not somebody who shies away when I come to a fork in the road. I usually take the one that scares me a little bit more or is a little bit more uncertain.”

And, with that, he’s a Senate candidate.

Cue the crying baby.


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