Brandenburg, Sanborn exploring runs for Miller’s seat

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

State Sen. Jack Brandenburg and former state Sen. Alan Sanborn have joined the list of people who are considering running for U.S. Rep. Candice Miller’s 10th Congressional District seat.

Brandenburg, the 63-year-old Harrison Township Republican, said he has received calls from party members about a potential run after Miller, R-Harrison Township, announced Thursday she’ll retire in 2016. He said he’s “definitely interested.”

“I’m 90 percent there. I’m going up in the Thumb this weekend,” said Brandenburg, who served six years in the state House before his election to the Senate in 2010 and re-election last year.

The surprise Thursday announcement by Miller set off a parlor game in Republican circles over potential contenders to succeed the seven-term congresswoman. Miller’s district encompassing northern Macomb County and St. Clair, Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac and Lapeer counties is rated solidly Republican by political handicappers.

Sanborn, a Richmond Republican, said on his Facebook page Friday he is also exploring a campaign after receiving inquiries and “words of encouragement” from others.

“After talking with my family, we are giving this serious consideration,” said Sanborn, who served two terms in the Senate and two terms in the state House of Representatives.

Other high-profile Republicans in the district whose names were floated in GOP circles included ex-state Rep. Pete Lund of Shelby Township, state Sen. Phil Pavlov of St. Clair Township, Rep. Andrea LaFontaine of Columbus Township, freshman Rep. Todd Courser of Lapeer and former state Rep. Leon Drolet of Macomb Township. Miller said she may endorse in the GOP primary.

“With our deep bench of strong Republican candidates, we will maintain this seat,” said Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party.

Drolet said he is exploring a run.

“I think there is absolutely a place in the Republican primary arena for a very principled, libertarian-orientated Republican,” Drolet said of himself. “That would be something that would tempt me to look at running.”

But Drolet, who is openly gay, said he’d face a “daunting” task of raising money and winning over conservative voters in the mostly rural district.

“Those two things weigh on my mind in this early hour,” said Drolet, who served in the state House from 2000-06.

Lund, who was term-limited last year and remains unemployed, did not rule out a bid. “Right now, this is Candice’s time to be celebrated and any decisions and speculation about that will come at the appropriate time,” he said.

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