Peter Meijer drops out of Michigan GOP Senate race

Former Rep. Peter Meijer is dropping his bid for Michigan’s open Senate seat, the Republican said in a statement Friday.

“The hard reality is the fundamentals of the race have changed since we launched this campaign. After prayerful consideration, today I withdrew my name from the primary ballot. Without a strong pathway to victory, continuing this campaign only increases the likelihood of a divisive primary that would distract from the essential goal – conservative victories in November,” Meijer said.

One of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after the January 6, 2021, riot, Meijer narrowly lost his House primary race in the 2022 midterms to a Trump-endorsed challenger. He entered the state’s Senate race last year despite discouragement from the national party.

The move comes days after Meijer announced that he had turned in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The US Army veteran who served in Iraq leaves a crowded field of candidates vying to replace longtime Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, including former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, who Trump endorsed last month. The winner of the GOP primary is likely to take on Rep. Elissa Slotkin, whom Democrats have largely coalesced around in the key battleground state.

Rogers thanked Meijer for “his service to our country & for bringing light to some of the biggest issues facing America and Michigan families” in a social media post on Friday.

“I wish him well, & hope he continues to be a valuable part of the GOP,” he added.

CNN reported last year that the Senate Republican campaign arm privately urged Meijer to sit out of the race out of fear that Meijer could split the primary vote among moderate Republicans and hand the nomination to former Detroit Police chief James Craig, who was disqualified as a gubernatorial candidate in 2022. According to a source familiar with the matter, the campaign arm feared that would take the state off the map for the GOP in 2024. Craig has since suspended his campaign.

Meijer narrowly lost his House primary race in the 2022 midterms to a Trump-endorsed challenger, John Gibbs. Gibbs, who supported Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, went on to lose the race to Democrat Hillary Scholten.

The former president slammed Meijer in a social media post Friday following the announcement.

“Once he raised his very little and delicate hand to Impeach President Trump, his Political Career was OVER!” Trump said. “Last time he lost in the Primary to a nice, but unknown, person, and now he lost to a GREAT Candidate, Mike Rogers, who will easily WIN the Nomination, and go on to WIN the Senate, BIG, in Michigan,” Trump added.

CNN’s Ali Main contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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