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Businessman Sandy Pensler joins jammed GOP field for Michigan U.S. Senate seat

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Businessman Sandy Pensler joins jammed GOP field for Michigan U.S. Senate seat

Dec 01, 2023 | 10:55 am ET
By Jon King
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Businessman Sandy Pensler joins jammed GOP field for Michigan U.S. Senate seat
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Sandy Pensler, Michigan Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, casts his vote in the Michigan Primary election at Trombly School August 7, 2018 in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. Pensler's opponent, Republican John James, has received President Donald Trump's endorsement. | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Saying he wants to take the “Senate back from the morons,” Grosse Pointe Park businessman Sandy Pensler is making another run for U.S. Senate, announcing via a video Friday morning that he has joined the race for the Republican nomination to replace Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing, who announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection in 2024.

“Let’s face the truth. Our border is a disaster,” said Pensler in the video. “Flooding our cities with drugs and illegal aliens. Biden’s border policy is simply immoral. Meanwhile, thugs roam our streets. They loot and steal and maim. Crime goes unpunished. It’s pure evil.”

Businessman Sandy Pensler joins jammed GOP field for Michigan U.S. Senate seat
Former Michigan GOP U.S. Senate candidate John James campaigns at Senor Lopez Restaurant August 13, 2018 in Detroit. | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Pensler, 67, the founder of the private investment firm Pensler Capital Corp., spent $5 million of his fortune in a failed U.S. Senate bid in 2018, when he lost the GOP primary that year to John James, who attacked Pensler for his position on abortion, noting he had at one time been a supporter of reproductive rights. Pensler said his views on the issue had changed and he had become an anti-abortion conservative after the birth of his son. James was later defeated by Stabenow in the 2018 general election. He’s now a GOP congressman representing the 10th District.

Pensler also made a failed run for Congress in 1992.

In making Friday’s announcement, Pensler indicated that culture war issues will also be a point in his campaign, referencing the current hostility toward the trans community that has been a key GOP talking point since last year.

“We allow men to destroy women’s sports because we fear being canceled by the radical woke fringe,” he said. “We act like cowards who have no common sense and no moral compass.”

He concluded the announcement with his take on the current pro-Palestinian protests against Israel’s military response to the Oct. 7 surprise attack by Hamas.

“And now, students in our own country march in favor of unspeakable cruelty,” he said, “[Former President Barack] Obama declares moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel. [U.S. Rep.] Rashida Tlaib calls for the destruction of Israel. So, what do we do about it? We start by taking the Senate back from the morons.”

Pensler joins a crowded field of 10 other Republicans vying for the Stabenow seat. They include former U.S. Reps. Peter Meijer and U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers. So are former Detroit Police Chief James Craig; Board of Education member Nikki Snyder; former Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott; Alexandria Taylor, an attorney who has previously represented Michigan GOP Chair Kristina Karamo; Sherry O’Donnell, a former 2022 congressional candidate and Michigan state chair for U.S. Term Limits; conservative businessman J.D. Wilson; Sharon Savage, an educator who worked for the Warren Consolidated School District for 42 years; and Michael Hoover, who previously worked for Dow Chemical Co.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), former state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit), actor Hill Harper of Detroit and businessman Nasser Beydoun are in the running for the seat.