Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said Monday she will run for the state's open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, becoming the first major Republican to enter the race for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.
"I bring the skills and vision for the job. I've won statewide," Land told National Journal. "This is a relationship state, and I'm going to get out and talk to voters. I know what it takes to win."
Land, who briefly pondered a Senate bid in 2012, said she "was hoping" that this year's race would attract a high-profile member of the state's congressional delegation -- such as Rep. Mike Rogers, Rep. Candice Miller, or Rep. Fred Upton.
But with Miller ruling out a run, Upton showing no interest, and Rogers -- who would likely enter as the GOP front-runner -- delaying his decision, Land took the leap. She has begun assembling a campaign team, and will file paperwork to run by month's end.
"I talked to Congressman Rogers [back when Levin retired], and he said he'd make a decision in a couple of weeks -- and then a couple of months went by," said Land, who has previously made it clear that she would defer to Rogers should he decide to run.
Land said she has kept in contact with Rogers for months, awaiting an answer. When it became clear that there was nothing imminent for him to announce, she made her move. "He called last week, and I told him of my decision to run for U.S. Senate," Land said. "He said he's still checking boxes and looking at it; I told him I would announce Monday. He wished me well and said we'd be in touch."
Asked if she took that conversation to mean Rogers will not run, Land said simply: "I feel very comfortable after my discussion with him."
With Rogers appearing increasingly unlikely to run -- people close to him have long doubted that he would surrender his perch as House Intelligence Committee Chairman -- the x-factor on the GOP side remains Rep. Justin Amash. The second-term congressman has been a thorn in the side of House leadership and would present interesting challenges to the GOP primary field with his combination of youth (33 years old), Arab-American heritage, and Libertarian views.
But Amash, who has been considering the race for many months, has not set a deadline for a decision.