Actor Hill Harper received a positive reception after he announced his candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat from Michigan on Monday.
The actor, best known for his roles in popular television shows like “The Good Doctor” and “CSI: NY,” made the announcement in a heartwarming video dedicated to his adopted son, Pierce, and released it on multiple social media platforms. It yielded several well-wishes for the first-time political candidate who aims to challenge front-runner Rep. Elissa Slotkin in a crowded Democratic primary.
“When you told me that you were afraid to go to school because of shootings, that’s not freedom,” said Pierce in the video.
Although it’s Harper’s first time running for office, he has served on President Barack Obama’s President’s Cancer Panel as a thyroid cancer survivor. He also stood by the first Black president on the campaign trail. Harper has a connection with Obama beyond politics through their shared love for basketball, and they have played together. He touted the relationship with the fellow Harvard graduate in the video.
If elected, Harper, who is Black, would join the limited number of Black members in the Senate.
“Good luck! Go Michigan,” wrote TV and film producer Keith Boykin, one of several blue-checkers who responded to the video on Harper’s Instagram page.
In interviews, Harper, 57, positioned himself as the most progressive candidate in the field, vowing to run to the left of Slotkin. His entry into the Senate race makes him the sixth Democratic candidate vying to succeed retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
However, despite his celebrity status, reports show Harper faces a challenging campaign against Slotkin, a three-term congresswoman and former CIA analyst who has proved to be a formidable fundraiser. Slotkin has positioned herself as a moderate, advocating for Democratic principles while rejecting far-left positions.
Originally from Iowa, the 57-year-old actor relocated to Detroit in 2018. Alongside his acting career, Harper has authored advice books and owns a coffee shop in the city.
On his campaign website, he vows to stand up “on the issues that matter to everyone,” and is running a campaign for universal health care, climate justice, to end the filibuster and for more jobs and economic dignity.
The Michigan Senate race promises to be highly competitive, drawing national attention as Democrats and Republicans vie for control of the Senate and seek to influence the direction of the state’s representation in Congress.
While many online seemed excited about Harper’s campaign announcement on Monday, sources close to Harper told Time magazine that several members of Congress have reached out to him attempting to dissuade him from pursuing the Senate race.
Some online commenters also are weary of celebrities running for office.
“No to entertainers running for elected office. He’s obviously bait,” wrote one online reader.
Harper has reportedly assembled a team of local and national strategists to ensure his candidacy is well prepared for the long haul.