Heise ends campaign for Congress, endorses Kowall

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise is ending his campaign for Congress and endorsing state Sen. Mike Kowall, the Senate majority floor leader, to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Dave Trott.

Heise said on Facebook late Monday that he views Kowall – who joined the race last week – as capable of appealing to “not just to a narrow swath of primary voters, but to the increasing number of independent voters who will actually determine the outcome” of the general election in November.

“The other Republican candidates cannot meet that basic test of electability in November. That is why I declared my candidacy last fall,” Heise wrote. “That has now changed.”

“My friend and former colleague, Senator Mike Kowall, has long demonstrated the ability to govern at the local and state levels,” Heise added.

“Mike Kowall is the Republican we need at this critical time in history. Therefore, I am ending my campaign, and endorsing Senator Mike Kowall for Congress in the 11th District. I urge the other candidates to do the same.”

Other candidates vying for the GOP nomination include businesswoman Lena Epstein of Bloomfield Township; state Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township; former state House Majority Leader Rocky Raczkowski of Troy; former U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Milford; and Kristine Bonds of West Bloomfield Township.

Heise, an attorney and former state lawmaker, was elected as township supervisor in 2016 after serving five years in the Legislature, where he chaired the House Criminal Justice Committee.

Heise had joined the race in October, becoming the first GOP candidate from Wayne County in the 11th District, which covers parts of Oakland and western Wayne counties, including Livonia, Canton Township, Troy, Waterford Township, Rochester and West Bloomfield Township.

Trott last fall announced his intent to retire after finishing his second term in the U.S. House. Political handicappers have since changed the district from a rating of “likely” Republican to a toss-up to reflect Democrats’ increased chances of winning the open seat.

Kowall grew up in Detroit and was elected to the state Senate in 2010 after serving in the state House from 1998 to 2002. He serves as vice chair of the Senate Commerce and the Oversight committees.

Jonathan Oosting contributed