Former Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) launched an exploratory committee for a possible U.S. Senate run, taking the first step toward entering the competitive race for the open seat in 2024. 

A filing with the Internal Revenue Service formally launched the Meijer for Senate Exploratory Committee, with the stated purpose to “test the waters for a potential candidacy for US Senate.” 

If he moves forward with a run, Meijer would be entering a crowded race for the seat vacated by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who announced early this year her intention not to seek reelection in 2024. 

“I am honored by the many Michigan conservatives who are encouraging me to run,” Meijer told the Detroit Free Press.

“Winning in 2024 is the only way we can stop [President] Biden’s ruinous economic policies and mass weaponization of government,” Meijer added. “It will take someone who can’t be bought and is willing to be bold, and I am considering running for Senate to do my part to get us out of this mess.”

Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Trump in January 2021 following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. He lost reelection in the GOP primary in 2022 after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) ran ads that promoted Meijer’s primary opponent. 

The controversial move secured Meijer’s primary defeat and set up an easier battle for Democrats during the general election. But the DCCC faced fierce blowback at the time from members of both parties, who lamented that Democrats were claiming publicly to care about democracy while punishing Meijer for defending it.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) is widely considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for Stabenow’s seat. No big-name Republican has yet announced a run, though according to Ballotpedia, at least four Republicans have entered the race.

The Hill has reached out to the exploratory committee for comment.