Actor Hill Harper has announced that he is running for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat.
Harper, who is perhaps best known for his roles on “The Good Doctor” and “CSI: NY,” said Monday that he is joining the crowded Democratic primary field seeking to replace the retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Stabenow announced in January that she would not be seeking a fifth term in the Senate. She has represented the battleground state in Congress since 1996, first in the U.S. House of Representatives before she was elected to the Senate in 2001.
Harper is the sixth Democratic candidate to enter the race, which already includes U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., former Michigan House of Representatives Leslie Love, Michigan State Education Board member Pamela Pugh, attorney Zack Burns, and civil rights advocate Nasser Beydoun.
Harper previously told The Associated Press that he would not want to be a “career politician” and plans to run a campaign “powered by the people, for the people.”
The campaign will be only Harper’s second brush with politics as he was appointed to then-President Obama’s cancer panel in 2012. He is a survivor of the disease himself.
Harper, who was born in Iowa, lives in Detroit and owns a coffee shop in the city, which he bought in 2017. He starred on the CBS show “CSI: NY” for nine seasons and currently appears as the level-headed Dr. Marcus Andrews on ABC’s “The Good Doctor.”
During the interview with AP before his announcement, he described himself as a small-business owner, a union member, and an activist.
“It’s not about party. It’s about people feeling represented,” Harper said during the interview. “And being an independent voice in the U.S. Senate is something I believe Michiganders want right now.”
Harper faces an uphill climb to catch up to Slotkin in both fundraising and campaigning. Slotkin has raised $5.8 million in just over four months, according to her campaign., and has $3.6 million on hand.
Slotkin has also been endorsed by fellow U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, a Democrat who represents parts of suburban Detroit.
Harper is not a typical Hollywood type, as he attended Brown University and Harvard Law School before becoming an actor.
Democrats have a one-seat advantage in the U.S. Senate, making Michigan a must-win state if they hope to maintain control of the majority. They also face tough races in Ohio, West Virginia, Montana, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
Two GOP candidates have announced bids for the seat, including state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder and business owner Michael Hoover. Former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican, is reportedly considering a bid.
Republicans have taken just one of Michigan’s last 15 Senate races, last winning an open seat in 1994.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.