Where is Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood?

Former US Rep. Mike Rogers speaks during a hearing. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

By Michigan Advance

January 31, 2024

BY JON KING, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—Where does former US Rep. Mike Rogers live?

Rogers has stood out in the crowded GOP field for an open U.S. Senate seat, having been recruited last year by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Records show Rogers, 60, owns homes in Michigan and Florida, but is registered to vote at a different Michigan address.

Rogers, who retired from a Michigan U.S. House seat in 2015, was living in Florida and was registered to vote there before deciding to run for office again in Michigan in 2023, per the Detroit News.

As late as May 2023, Rogers was still being reported to have interest in a run for the White House. When he was asked in March 2023 by WKAR-TV’s Tim Skubick if he was interested in replacing retiring U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), Rogers replied that he wasn’t sure.

But by June 30, 2023, that had changed with Politico first reporting Rogers was seriously considering a run for Stabenow’s seat.

In July 2023, the Detroit News, reporting on Rogers’ possible interest in the U.S. Senate race, quoted Rogers adviser John Stineman that the former congressman and his wife, Kristi, had a sale agreement on a property in Michigan that they would be closing on soon.

By the time Rogers officially announced two months later his pursuit of the GOP nomination, the exact location of that home remained unreported, although in an op-ed for the News less than a week later, Rogers related a story about discussing the cost of living with a cashier at “the Meijer in Brighton.”

Livingston County records show Rogers and his wife registered to vote at a Brighton address on Aug. 16, 2023. That same address is also listed in county property records as being owned by his sister-in-law, Deborah Miller.

Rogers was born and raised in Livingston County. His parents were deeply involved in the community, with his father, John, a teacher and later a longtime elected official in Brighton Township, while his mother, Joyce, was the highly respected head of the Brighton Chamber of Commerce. The post office in Brighton is officially named in her honor.

Rogers also represented the county during his six years in the Michigan Senate and 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. So it makes sense that his return to Michigan would bring him back to Livingston County, and specifically Brighton.

He also did buy a home 30 miles away. Oakland County tax records show Rogers and his wife purchased a one-bedroom, 728-square-foot home in White Lake Township for $295,000 on July 10, 2023.

The Michigan Advance asked Rogers’ campaign to comment on his residency. A spokesperson confirmed Rogers is living at his sister-in-law’s Brighton house pending renovations on the White Lake property, but declined to comment further despite repeated requests. When reached for comment, the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee referred the Advance to Rogers’ campaign.

The real estate listing for the White Lake property shows the home was completely remodeled by the previous owner in 2022 just prior to its sale.

“Chip and Joanna, literally, just left the building! (EVERYTHING REPLACED FROM THE STUDS TO THE ROOF! OVER $100,000 INTO THIS! This is a one-of-a-kind one-bedroom cottage stunner now available after much love!” states a Redfin listing.

Rogers’ campaign did provide copies of Oakland County permits to plug an onsite well and install a new one, although they are from December, more than five months after the home was purchased.

Rogers also owns a large home in Florida. The 4,751-square-foot home in Cape Coral valued at $1.7 million was his official residence until his decision to run for US Senate. Public records show he received a $50,000 homestead tax exemption on the property for 2022, as well as pulled a renovation permit that same year worth $327,000, more than the cost of the entire Michigan house.

Both homes in Cape Coral and White Lake are listed under Rogers’ and his wife’s names, as trustees of the Rogers Family Trust, which has the same Brighton address he and his wife are registered to vote at.

Pollster Bernie Porn of the EPIC-MRA firm tells the Advance that despite the former congressman’s longtime connections to Michigan, there could be “enough info to label Rogers as a carpetbagger.

“Today, ‘carpetbagger’ means someone who’s an opportunistic outsider, such as a political candidate who runs for office in a place where he has no deep ties or hasn’t lived in an area for a very long time,” Porn said.

“In my years working for state House Dems, I used similar situations involving residences as pretty powerful direct mail pieces or TV ad messages in campaigns. All you have to do is show the two houses next to each other and ask which state is more important to him based on the houses he owns in each state,” he added.

Rogers faces a jammed field for the GOP nomination, which includes State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder; former Dow Chemical employee Michael Hoover; former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids); former Detroit Police Chief James Craig; former Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott; Alexandria Taylor, an attorney who has previously represented Michigan GOP Chair Kristina Karamo; Sherry O’Donnell, a former 2022 congressional candidate and Michigan state chair for U.S. Term Limits; businessman J.D. Wilson; Sharon Savage, an educator who worked for the Warren Consolidated School District for 42 years; and businessman Sandy Pensler.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, who became a Libertarian after he ran afoul of fellow Republicans for his opposition to Donald Trump, said earlier this month that he’s considering rejoining the Republican Party to run for the seat. Additionally, Lena Epstein, who co-chaired Trump’s 2016 Michigan campaign, said she is forming a PAC to raise funds for the race.

The Democratic field is far narrower, with actor and lawyer Hill Harper, along with Ann Arbor attorney Zach Burns, Dearborn businessman Nasser Beydoun and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) running.

Slotkin had her own residence issues last summer when she moved out of her rental condo in Lansing, which created headlines during the 2022 congressional election, as it was owned by a campaign donor.

“Elissa Slotkin’s sham residence in Lansing makes it clear to voters that she only has her own self-interests in mind,” Gustavo Portela, then- communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, told MLive in September 2022. “She cannot be trusted to independently represent the Michiganders of District 7 while she actively maintains a relationship as the Lansing lessee of an East Coast lobbyist, whose own business Slotkin boosted when she supported a program that awarded the company millions of dollars in grants.”

Slotkin earlier this year then changed her voter registration to her hometown of Holly, even though that was outside the 7th Congressional District that she currently represents.

READ MORE: Mike Rogers tries to distance Senate campaign from his anti-abortion record

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 

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