‘I’m not dead yet’: First candidate emerges for Hertel’s Senate seat

Term-limited senator not ‘ruling out’ on 2026 gubernatorial bid in Michigan

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THURSDAY, July 1 — State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. said this week that “people are lining up to carry out the coffin” of his political career as the term-limited senator nears his last year in office.

The first of the pallbearers:

Former House Democratic Leader Sam Singh, who announced plans on Twitter this week to run for Hertel’s seat in the November 2022 election. Singh, a former state representative, has served six years in the Legislature from 2013 to 2018. 

“I work for all of you. I’ve been in the Senate for six and half years now. I have a year and a half left,” Hertel Jr. said during City Pulse's annual Inclusion Awards ceremony, which was conducted virtually this year. “I’m not dead yet, although several people are lining up to carry out the coffin.” 

Singh is the first to publicly announce his campaign for Hertel’s seat, though political insiders have also said they expect State Rep. Sarah Anthony to pursue a Senate seat next year. 

Singh served three terms on the East Lansing City Council and in 2005 — at age 24 — became the youngest mayor in the city’s history. He has also worked for the New Economic Initiative for Southeast Michigan, Public Policy Associates and Michigan Nonprofit Association. 

In December, two newly registered website domain names suggested that Hertel Jr. was planning a run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Exactly when and where, however, remains unseen. Hertel said he hasn’t made any concrete decisions on his next career move.

One certainty: Hertel Jr. has no plans to run a campaign against U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin. 

Hertel Jr. said that his campaign only thought it a “good idea” to register the domain names amid speculation that Slotkin would be picked as CIA director after President Joe Biden’s election.

At this week’s annual Inclusion Award ceremony, Hertel Jr. also didn’t rule out an eventual run for governor — but only after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer finishes her second term in 2026. 

“I guess it’s possible,” he added. “I’m not going to rule anything out.”

Click here to read more about this year's Inclusion Award winners. 

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