A Grosse Pointe business executive confirmed he intends to enter the growing Republican primary field seeking the nomination as the party’s U.S. Senate candidate, bringing the likely candidate field to at least four so far.

Sandy Pensler, founder and president of Pensler Capital, said he intends to attend the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference later this month to meet with party officials and discuss policy ahead of filing paperwork to enter the race in the coming weeks. Mr. Pensler signaled his interest some time ago (See Gongwer Michigan Report, July 18, 2017), but spoke in detail about it for the first time for a Detroit Free Press story published during the weekend.

Mr. Pensler said his business background and past education experience as a member of the economics faculty at Yale University provide him with the knowledge to tackle complex issues in Washington, D.C.

“I have a level of business acumen that I think is superior to that of any candidate,” Mr. Pensler said. “And I can get into the numbers and not just be at a 35,000-foot level.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Robert Young, Jr. and business executive Lena Epstein have entered the race, while business executive and Iraq war veteran John James formed an exploratory committee in July.

The Republicans are vying to challenge U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) in next year’s election.

Mr. Pensler said his past professional experience would lend itself well to dealing with health care costs, education, taxes and entitlement programs.

Mr. Pensler said the tax code needs to be simplified and efficiencies need to be found in entitlement programs. He said Ms. Stabenow’s policies create unintended consequences when the focus is on more programs and funding.

“If she were one of my students I probably would have flunked her,” Mr. Pensler said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) is still weighing his 2018 options, said Tom Wilbur, Mr. Upton’s spokesperson. Nothing has changed from Friday when Mr. Wilbur denied speculation of the congressman considering retirement. Rumors about him and U.S. Rep. David Trott (R-Birmingham) weighing retirement made the rounds on Friday; Mr. Trott announced his intention not to seek a third term on Monday.

This story was originally published by Gongwer.

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