Actor Hill Harper is running for US Senate in Michigan

I admit I had never heard of Hill Harper until yesterday. He’s currently on The Good Doctor (a show I do not watch), but if you look up his acting resume he’s been working steadily in (mostly) TV since 1993. But he’s not just a pretty face! Harper graduated from Brown with a BA in Economics and Sociology, and received a couple masters degrees from Harvard, where he also played basketball with a kid named Barry Obama. So he’s an interesting, multi-faceted guy. But should he be making his first political run for office for the 2024 Democratic Senate seat in Michigan, where he’s only lived for 5 years? He announced his candidacy yesterday:

Actor Hill Harper announced on Monday that he’ll challenge U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin for the Democratic nomination for a Michigan Senate seat in 2024.

Both Harper, 57, and Slotkin, 47, will be campaigning to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in what is expected to be one of the most highly competitive (and expensive) 2024 Senate contests.

In a campaign video posted Monday morning, Harper can be heard reading a message to his son, Pierce, whom he adopted in the spring of 2017.

“Dear Pierce,” Harper says in the voiceover of the ad, “I’m recording this video for you because I’m about to make a big announcement. And it’s going to be tough for us.”

As clips to the actor and his son are seen, Harper continues: “You know, I’m not going to be able to tuck you in every night, or do our nighttime prayers together… Fighting for what you believe in is hard enough, but it’s worth doing when you found something that makes your heart beat faster. And for me, it’s you.”

“For me, adopting you is the greatest thing I’ve done in my life,” Harper continues.

Harper, who plays Dr. Marcus Andrews on the hit ABC medical drama The Good Doctor, moved to Detroit in 2018 and purchased a local coffee roaster and has since spent time revitalizing one of the city’s most historic homes.

This campaign marks his first run for office. Prior to pursuing his acting career, Harper attended Brown University and Harvard Law.

“We’re in a state where I think the triple blue leadership in Lansing has done really hard work moving the state forward, but in Washington, D.C., it’s still broken. And folks feel like it’s still broken. And I’m one of them,” the actor said in a statement to The Detroit News.

He continued: “Without energized, bold leadership in the U.S. Senate, our state will continue to be held back from achieving its full potential. We deserve a better brand of politics than politics as usual, and that’s why I’m running for the U.S. Senate.”

Speaking to The Detroit News, Harper acknowledged he wasn’t sure whether, if elected, he would continue to film The Good Doctor, noting that filming has been put on pause amid the Writers Guild of America’s ongoing strike.

“That is impossible to say because we’re on strike. The industry is on strike right now. Nothing’s happening as far as the industry, so who knows? he told the outlet.

Harper faces an uphill battle in launching a campaign against Slotkin, who announced her campaign four months ago and has since raised more than $5 million and secured a number of high-profile endorsements.

[From People]

Harper wouldn’t commit to quitting acting if he becomes a senator, saying it was hard to tell with the writer’s strike. First of all, if he gets elected, he would start work as a senator in January 2025. Is he suggesting that the strike will still be going on then? And second, of course he won’t be filming if he’s elected to Congress. As educated and dynamic as he seems to be, it’s hard to see how Michigan would select him against Rep. Elissa Slotkin. (Damn, I just looked her up and her birthday was yesterday–he announced he was running against her on her birthday!)

You can see the campaign video below, so you can judge for yourself how the speaking-to-his-son construct works for you. It didn’t work for me. “You know, I’m not going to be able to tuck you in at night, or do our nighttime prayers together.” He’s choosing to run. He doesn’t have to be doing this, it’s certainly not an expected (or even logical) next step in his career.

And those are all my thoughts before even getting to the conversation of: aren’t the stakes in our country too high right now for an actor to try breaking into the US Senate?

We need representatives who'll take on special interests, get money out of politics, and make our government work for all of us.

That’s why today, I’m announcing my campaign for U.S. Senate in Michigan! ✊🏾

— Hill Harper (@hillharper) July 10, 2023

photos credit: Michael Simon/ Images, Olivier Huitel / Avalon and via social media

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