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Politics

Rogers to Announce Senate Decision Friday

All signs point to the congressman passing on a statewide campaign.

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers is the GOP's strongest potential candidate for the Senate race, but he is unlikely to run.((AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite))

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., will announce on Friday whether he's running for U.S. Senate next year, he told National Journal today, but would not confirm speculation that he has decided not to run.

"I should have an announcement on Friday on what I'm doing," Rogers said in a brief interview at the Capitol.

 

The congressman declined to characterize the delivery or setting of Friday's announcement, saying simply: "We'll be doing it right."

Rogers has long been considered unlikely to run, in part because of his powerful position as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. In seeking the GOP nomination for Senate, Rogers would surrender a safe House seat, as well as one of the most influential perches in Congress.

Just last week, Rogers' older brother, Michigan state Rep. Bill Rogers, told National Journal that a recent conversation between the brothers spoke to Mike's unwillingness to run for Senate.

 

"He told me, 'I have the position I want, and I'm very comfortable in that position,'" Bill Rogers said.

The timing also suggests Rogers won't run. Friday is known as a "news dump" day in Washington where flacks dump unfavorable news with the hope it will be underplayed before the weekend. It would be highly unusual for someone launching a U.S. Senate campaign to announce their plans on a Friday, robbing their campaign of the free publicity afforded by a week-long news cycle.

Rogers, seen in Michigan GOP circles as the most electable candidate to take on the expected Democratic nominee, Rep. Gary Peters, has been under pressure from party leaders to enter the race. Rogers was expected to announce last month whether he would run, but delayed the announcement. Some Republicans took that to mean he was giving the race stronger consideration than expected, while others -- including Rogers's brother -- assumed the congressman was being publicly deliberative out of respect for the supporters who have been urging him to run.

Rogers said he has kept in contact with those potential backers since first hearing from them after Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced his retirement back in March.

 

"I did my due diligence all the way through, up to making my decision," Rogers said Tuesday.

The GOP field is wide open, with former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land the only declared candidate. Land, a longtime Rogers ally, had suggested for months that she would defer to Rogers should he decide to run. But last week Land ran out of patience, and informed Rogers that she would be running. His response, Land said, was not that of a soon-to-be rival candidate.

"He wished me well and said we'd be in touch," Land said, later adding: "I feel very comfortable after my discussion with him. ... I'm sure if he had any reservation [about me running] he would have told me."

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If Rogers does not run, that leaves his colleague, Rep. Justin Amash, as the final piece of the Senate puzzle. Like Rogers, Amash has been considering the race for months, but has given no timetable for making a decision. He told National Journal last week that he has his family's blessing to run.

"But it's a big ordeal; it's not a small thing to run for Senate," Amash cautioned. "In a large state like Michigan, you're talking about raising maybe $20 million, and spending a lot of time over the next year-and-a-half traveling around the state. So we need to decide whether we want to do that."

Rogers is an ideological adversary to Amash, whose libertarian worldview has been a source of political friction between the two. Rogers insisted that his decision was not influenced by the prospect of facing Amash in a primary.

"I make my decision on the political, the personal, and the professional," Rogers said.

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