Brandenburg declines to run for Congress

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau
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State Sen. Jack Brandenburg unexpectedly said Wednesday that he is not running for U.S. Rep. Candice Miller’s open congressional seat.

The Harrison Township Republican had expressed interest, even criticizing retired business Paul Mitchell for moving into the solidly GOP 10th Congressional District and becoming a candidate in July.

But Brandenburg indicated obstacles had arisen in both his personal and professional life.

“There were a couple of specific reasons that I would choose to remain private, but I could not get through them,” Brandenburg told The Detroit News on Wednesday.

The state senator said he has “agonized” for months about whether to jump into the race.

“I couldn’t make it fit,” Brandenburg said. “And anybody who knows me intimately will tell you that Jack Brandenburg has never had any problems making decisions quickly.

“I’ve never agonized with a decision like I have with this.”

At least three Republicans have announced their candidacies in the Aug. 2 primary. They are former state Sen. Alan Sanborn of Richmond, state Sen. Phil Pavlov of St. Clair Township and Mitchell.

“Jack Brandenburg is a great friend of mine and a very good man,” Pavlov said in a statement. “I appreciate very much all that went into his decision, and I know how seriously he took it. Macomb County can be proud to have him as senator.”

Mitchell, a former owner of Ross Medical Education Centers, spent millions of dollars of his own money in a 2014 failed congressional bid for the 4th Congressional District seat. He moved back into the 10th District last year after purchasing a small farm in Dryden Township.

“Jack Brandenburg is a good man and I fully understand everything that goes into making the difficult decision on whether or not to seek election to Congress,” Mitchell said in a statement.

Miller of Harrison Township said in March 2015 that she would retire at the end of 2016 after seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 10th Congressional District includes northern Macomb County and St. Clair, Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac and Lapeer counties.

Brandenburg was re-elected in 2014 and has three years remaining in his second and final term representing the state Senate’s 8th District, which includes Bruce, Chesterfield, Harrison, Lenox, Ray, Shelby and Washington townships and Mount Clemens and St. Clair Shores.

The arrival of his first grandchild eight months ago also played a factor in Brandenburg’s decision not to run for Congress.

“I really like what I’m doing,” he said. “I’m comfortable in my own skin.”

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