What They’re Saying: “Messy” GOP Senate Primary “Isn’t Over Yet” as “Republican Rivals Attack Rogers” 

LANSING — The “messy Republican primary contest” “isn’t over yet” as “Republican rivals attack Rogers” from all sides. 

The story notes that “Rogers is taking regular fire from rivals” with “both Pensler and Amash accus[ing] Rogers of flipping [stances]… when it served his electoral pursuits.” Pensler is up on the airwaves attacking Rogers, and Amash is “running social media ads blasting Rogers’ past defense of government surveillance programs.”

See for yourself:

Detroit News: Republican rivals attack Rogers… 

  • With five weeks to go, the messy Republican primary contest for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat is down to four contenders… 
  • “I absolutely think this has the potential to become a very competitive Senate race in the general election, but you have to get through the primary first.” 
  • … Rogers is taking regular fire from rivals seeking the GOP nomination in the Aug. 6 primary: Former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, businessman Sandy Pensler of Grosse Pointe Park and physician Sherry O’Donnell of Stevensville. 
  • [Amash is] running social media ads blasting Rogers’ past defense of government surveillance programs, betting that distrust in the deep state will resonate with primary voters.
  • [Pensler] has hammered Rogers on his prior work for companies that partnered with Chinese firms and his handling of a probe into the 2012 Benghazi terror attack on the American consulate in Libya.
  • …The primary isn’t over yet, said Nathan Gonzales, editor of the Inside Elections newsletter. 
  • The primary has been interesting in part because of the expectation that Pensler (and his millions) would “go away” after he lost Trump’s endorsement, Gonzales added. But he hasn’t. 
  • “That dynamic remains in play,” Gonzales said.
  • “Michigan will be a competitive race,” said Sen. Gary Peters, a Bloomfield Township Democrat who chairs the DSCC. “By definition, we’re a battleground state, and battleground states are going to be a close election. But I’m confident we’re gonna win.”
  • Republicans have won one Senate seat in Michigan in the last 50 years ― Spencer Abraham in 1994 ― but party strategists assert that a strong performance by Trump in the state could put their nominee over the top. 
  • Both Pensler and Amash have accused Rogers of flipping… when it served his electoral pursuits. 
  • “This race has a lot of the same signs to it. A lot of the same feel. … I think there’s no comparison there in terms of who has the grassroots enthusiasm right now,” [said Amash.] 
  • He has framed the campaign as one about the “surveillance state”… His ad running on social media cuts together clips of Rogers while in Congress, including his touting the Patriot Act for “taking the handcuffs off” the intelligence services and making light of how it “could be” abused.
  • “One of the reasons I focus on it a lot is it’s a matter of trust. If someone is willing to spy on you in this way, then they’re hard to trust on any issue,” Amash said. “If a politician is willing to basically sic the state on you without a warrant and just pull up your private information, they can’t really trust that you’re going to be responsible in other ways.”
  • …Most of the candidates in the race, including Rogers and Pensler, are anti-abortion… Amash… is also anti-abortion.
  • [Pensler] has spent at least $2.6 million to broadcast attack ads against Rogers and intends to largely stay on the air up to the primary. “You have to get the message out,” he said.
  • “It’s working. We’ve seen massive tightening,” Pensler said of internal polling. 


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