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The doctor is in … the Michigan Senate race. Actor Hill Harper is setting his sights on politics.
The Good Doctor star on Monday announced he is running for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat, challenging U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin for the Democratic nomination.
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In an interview with the Associated Press ahead of the announcement, the actor, who owns a home and a coffee shop in Detroit, described himself as a small-business owner, union member and activist and explained how not being a “career politician” would give him an advantage in Congress. “It’s not about party. It’s about people feeling represented,” Harper said. “And being an independent voice in the U.S. Senate is something I believe Michiganders want right now.”
Harper has had a 30-year career in television, co-starring in series such as City of Angels, CSI: NY, Covert Affairs, Limitless and Homeland. He has played Dr. Marcus Andrews on ABC’s currently airing medical drama The Good Doctor since 2017.
A Senate run means Harper is likely to exit The Good Doctor. (The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to ABC and Hill’s reps for comment.)
Harper is the latest public figure to pivot to politics, continuing a decades-long trend stretching back to Ronald Reagan’s election as California governor in 1967 before a two-term presidency.
Many of the campaigns have been quixotic (think singer Clay Aiken’s ill-fated congressional campaigns in 2014 and 2022, or Cynthia Nixon’s 2018 run for New York governor), but other actors, singers, comedians and public figures have been far more successful.
A number of U.S. Senators were household names well before their elections: Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live writer and actor, represented Minnesota in the Senate from 2009 to 2018; Fred Thompson, who had roles in The Hunt for Red October and Die Hard 2, represented Tennessee from 1994-2003, and played district attorney Arthur Branch in the Law & Order franchise after he left the Senate; George Murphy, a leading man from Hollywood’s Golden Age and former Screen Actors Guild president, represented California from 1965-1971; and J.D. Vance, the best-selling author, was elected as a Senator from Ohio in 2022.
Other high-profile politicians include Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was governor of California from 2003-11, former wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who was governor of Minnesota from 1999-2003; and singer Sonny Bono, who was a Congressman from 1994 until his death in 1998.
And of course, there was Donald Trump, the former host of NBC’s The Apprentice, who served one term as president from 2016-20 and is currently running for another term in the GOP primary.
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