Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John P. McCulloch, a Republican, is considering a statewide campaign against Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012.
McCulloch was first elected to what was then the county drain commissioner position in 2000. Prior to that, he was chairman of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners for five years and served on the county’s governing body for a decade in total.
“There’s a lot of factors that you have to consider, like family and time,” McCulloch said. “We are going through that.”
He said last week that he expects to make a decision on a possible U.S. Senate candidacy within the next 30 days.
While McCulloch said there has been “no pressure from anyone” to get into the race, he said that “a couple people asked me to look at it,” declining to name who they were other than identifying them as “supporters.”
And just because McCulloch is mulling a U.S. Senate bid doesn’t mean that he’s ignoring or ruling out out a re-election campaign for his current post as Water Resources Commissioner.
Others who were thought to be top-tier candidates have declined to pursue the GOP nomination for Stabenow’s seat, including U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Waterford, White Lake, Highland, Milford, Commerce, Wolverine Lake, Walled, Wixom), former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, and former Gov. John Engler.
McCulloch doesn’t dispute the importance of name identification, especially in a statewide race, but he pointed to his work in the metro Detroit region — particularly on the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department issues that have caused consternation between the city and suburbs in the past — as an example of his name being more well-known than perhaps some may initially believe.
“I have interacted on a regional basis,” he said. “If you think about the 10-million population in the state, half of that population” lives in southeastern Michigan.
McCulloch listed several national issues that have caused him concern and may prompt him to enter the GOP primary, including the federal budget deficit, the concern over the debt ceiling that has rankled politicians in Washington D.C., and recent reports of a possible downgrading of the nation’s bond rating.
“Those are huge issues and, when you start to reflect on what we’ve done in Oakland County — maintaining the AAA bond rating, planning for the future — those are all aspects that we can bring to the national scene,” he said.
He would be the second-straight countywide official to challenge Stabenow, following an unsuccessful bid by Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard to unseat Stabenow, who is seeking her third U.S. Senate term next year.
U.S. Senators earn $174,000 annually and serve six-year terms. The county’s water resources commissioner serves four-year terms and earns $138,999 a year.
The filing deadline for the Aug. 7, 2012 U.S. Senate primary election is July 9, 2012.