While Rep. Gary Peters of Michigan appears to have a clear path to the Democratic nomination for retiring Sen. Carl Levin's seat, the GOP's nominee could still be Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Mike Rogers, or someone else entirely. That doesn't mean it's too early to look at the possible House candidates should Amash or Rogers decide to run for Senate.
Both seats lean Republican — Amash's more so — and Republican operatives tout a number of up-and-comers as potential replacements in Amash's 3rd District. With Amash and the party establishment frequently at loggerheads, some longtime operatives say an Amash Senate candidacy could be an opening to return the seat to its moderate Republican roots.
The first name mentioned by nearly every consultant is that of state Sen. Mark Jansen, called the "early favorite" by one GOP insider. The term-limited legislator is "much closer to that traditional Kent County, West Michigan compassionate-conservative mold," a Lansing consultant said.
That "mold," say some Republicans, dates back to one of the 3rd District seat's former occupants, Gerald Ford. That history may appeal to former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who got her start in politics working for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign. Land told Hotline On Call last month that a Senate bid is "an interest that I've had for some time," but GOP operatives — including some who doubted her intention to run for Senate — said she might be enticed by an opening in Ford's old seat.