July 24, 2023

Obama Not Getting Involved in Former Classmate's Senate Race

Former President Barack Obama is reportedly not planning to back actor Hill Harper in his Democratic run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan.

The news comes despite Harper's support for Obama during his White House run.

"Hill Harper, an actor known for his roles on “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor,” announced on Monday that he is running for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat and challenging U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin for the Democratic nomination," the Associated Press reported.

"Harper is the sixth Democratic candidate to enter the race for retiring Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat. Stabenow announced in January that she would not be seeking a fifth term in 2024 in the battleground state," it added.

"He and Obama played basketball together, and when the latter launched his bid for President, Harper was among the celebrities who campaigned for him," Time wrote.

"Asked if Obama would back Harper’s Senate bid, Obama spokesperson Hannah Hankins tells TIME, 'President Obama does not generally weigh in on Democratic primaries and will not be endorsing in this one,'" the report added.

Part of Obama's reason for not endorsing Harper may be in a variety of alliances with Michigan Democrats. With several candidates running, he's connected in multiple ways with candidates.

In addition, Obama may not want to run the risk of a political loss in endorsing someone uncertain to win. The high number of candidates makes it unclear of the outcome for the party at this point.

Despite the hesitation, Obama will almost certainly back whoever wins the state's primary. The Senate will be at risk of flipping to Republican power in 2024, something Obama hopes his party can avoid.

Harper's TV fame will help him in his state bid, but for now, he won't be able to use his Obama connection to much advantage in his Senate run.

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