With the door wide open for a Macomb County candidate to succeed retiring Congresswoman Candice Miller, state Rep. Tony Forlini has quietly entered the 10th Congressional District race.

Forlini, like Miller, is a Republican from Harrison Township, located on Macomb’s Lake St Clair shoreline. In contrast, he is a rather unassuming lawmaker in Lansing, a fairly moderate Republican. However, like Miller, he is an environmentally friendly supporter of protecting the Great Lakes from continuing pollution problems. With the Flint water crisis taking an international place on the media’s radar screen, Forlini (pictured above with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley) could benefit from the overwhelming issue of safe drinking water.

With the days counting down to the April filing deadline, the GOP primary election unexpectedly had shaped up as one Macomb candidate – former state senator Alan Sanborn of Richmond Township – plus state Sen. Phil Pavlov of St. Clair and wealthy businessman Paul Mitchell, who recently moved to Lapeer County from outside the area. Mitchell’s self-worth has made the fundraising aspect of the race a huge mismatch.

All four contenders are Republicans in the solidly GOP 10th District, which stretches from northern Macomb County to the tip of the Thumb Area. The Macomb portion of the district represents about one-half of the voters.

Forlini’s opening to enter the race came when state Sen. Jack Brandenburg – yet another Harrison Township Republican – declined to run. In his announcement last month, Brandenburg did not offer an endorsement, though he said that he believes Pavlov will emerge as the winner.

Earlier this month, Brandenburg also weighed in on the presidential race, expressing admiration for Donald Trump. Today, Brandenburg offered his full-fledged endorsement of the bombastic billionaire, claiming that Trump is a straight shooter.

In one cringe-worthy moment, Brandenburg’s endorsement statement said this of the 69-year-old candidate: “(He) shoots from the hip and is hip when he shoots.”

As for Forlini, a term-limited legislator, a portion of his state House district lies outside of the congressional district, giving him a tiny sliver of a base as a starting point in this congressional race.