U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, announced this morning that he would run for re-election, ending speculation that he would run for the U.S. Senate.

"I will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate," Upton said in a statement. "There was a path, but today we are not choosing to follow it."

He added: "We need focus and fortitude in Washington now more than ever. We are full speed ahead for re-election in 2018."

For months, Upton was said to be considering a run to become the Republican nominee for the seat currently held by Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is running for a fourth 6-year term next year.

Republicans had been bullish on their chances to beat Stabenow, with President Donald Trump last year becoming the first Republican presidential nominee to win in Michigan since 1988.

But Upton's decision not to run comes after another widely known potential candidate -- the musician Kid Rock -- also said he would not run after months of suggesting he might.

Businessman John James and former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Young are running as Republicans for Senate. Grosse Pointe businessman Sandy Pensler is also looking at potentially entering the race.

Upton, 64, has been in the U.S. House since 1987 and will be running for his 17th two-year term next year. He is also the former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Contact Todd Spangler at 703-854-8947 or at tspangler@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tsspangler.

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