Sterling Heights Mayor Taylor won't run for U.S. House seat in Macomb swing district

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Sterling Heights Mayor Mike Taylor won't run for Congress after the former Republican considered a campaign for the Democratic primary in the new swing district centered on Macomb County. 

Taylor, 38, had spoken to the Democratic National Campaign Committee in recent weeks about potentially joining the race in Michigan's new 10th District that includes Rochester Hills, Warren and Sterling Heights.

The decision by Taylor not to pursue election to the U.S. House was confirmed Wednesday by a spokesman, BJ Neidhardt.

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor speaks about his challenger, Ken Nelson, for the upcoming election for mayor during an interview on Friday, Oct. 18, 2021.

Some Democrats had hoped that Taylor could appeal to independents and even some Republicans in what's expected to be a battleground district in this fall's midterm elections. But several labor leaders had expressed opposition to Taylor last week, and some local party officials questioned where he stood on core Democratic values. 

Taylor was reelected to a four-year term as mayor last fall with 63% of the vote in Michigan's fourth-largest city, with a population of over 134,000. 

The 10th District seat is open after redistricting because U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, opted to run for reelection next door in the 11th District that covers parts of Oakland County, along with Rep. Haley Stevens, who had lived in Rochester Hills until late last year. 

The Democrats haven't found a high-profile candidate with broad name identification yet for the 10th.

Warren City Councilwoman Angela Rogensues announced Tuesday that she's getting into the race, joining first-time candidate Huwaida Arraf, a civil rights attorney who lives in Macomb Township.

Others who are considering jumping into the contest include Macomb County Circuit Judge Carl Marlinga, 75, of Sterling Heights. Former state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, is also a possible candidate. Bieda ran briefly ran to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, in 2018.

Several well-known Republicans are eyeing the district including Farmington Hills businessman John James, a former U.S. Senate candidate. Others include former U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester and Eric Esshaki of Birmingham, who launched a campaign last year and ran unsuccessfully against Stevens in 2020.

As a Republican, Taylor had backed President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township, both Democrats, in 2020. But Taylor also endorsed James when he was running against U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, in 2018.

Taylor has said he left the Republican Party after the 2020 election conspiracy theories and the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Forecasters like Cook Political Report have rated Michigan's 10th District as a "likely" Republican seat. The website FiveThirtyEight saying it leans GOP.