Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young, Jr. stood on a blighted street corner in Detroit Wednesday to officially announce his Republican candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
"I'm the disruptor that D.C. needs," Young said, promising to end big government and what he described as insane excess federal spending.
Young joins businesswoman Lena Epstein, who co-chaired President Donald Trump's Michigan campaign in 2016, as a potential challenger to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, who is seeking a fourth six-year term.
Young said the blighted corner at 14th Street and McGraw, near his childhood home, demonstrates one of the main reasons he wants to run, saying a wasteful federal war on poverty has left conditions about the same as they were in 1967.
"People like Debbie Stabenow don't want change," Young said. "They want to keep doing the same things, even though the results are bad."
Young stepped down in April after 18 years on the Michigan Supreme Court and a record three consecutive terms as chief justice. He said he was retiring from the bench to return to his former law firm, Dickinson Wright in Detroit.
Since then, there's been considerable speculation Young might run for the U.S. Senate and try to end a long Republican drought. The last GOP candidate to win a U.S. Senate race in Michigan was Spence Abraham in 1994.
Young formerly lived in Grosse Pointe Park and now lives in the Lansing area.
He said he reformed the Michigan's judicial system by reducing its size and cost and making judges accountable through performance measurements that are posted online.
A spokeswoman for Stabenow declined to comment directly on the Young announcement, but said: "Whether it is protecting our Great Lakes or lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, Sen. Stabenow is focused on doing her job and what is best for Michigan."
Epstein issued a statement in which she grouped Stabenow and Young together as having been "in elected office nearly 60 years combined."
She said she will "offer a vision for the future that looks very different than that of career politicians," and will "put Michigan and America first instead of insiders and special interest groups.”
Meanwhile, a group is stepping up pressure to get at least one more Republican candidate to join the race.
A Michigan nonprofit called the National Security and Opportunity Fund unveiled new digital ads calling for an unnamed U.S. Senate candidate "laser-focused on creating economic opportunities for all Michigan residents," and an "experienced combat veteran with a great understanding of national security."
Stu Sandler, a Republican consultant and spokesman for the group, said the group backs candidates such as "Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Eric Greitens in Missouri and John James in Michigan who understand national security and business."
James, the president of Detroit-based James Group International and CEO of Renaissance Global Logistics, is an Iraq War veteran with a master's of business administration from U-M. He has said he is considering joining the race.
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