Did the GOP get the candidate it wanted in Michigan?
July 20th, 2011
10:44 AM ET
9 years ago

Did the GOP get the candidate it wanted in Michigan?

(CNN) - It seems national Republicans have found a high profile candidate to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan as she fights for re-election next year.

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra announced Wednesday that he's filing paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan.

"Over the last couple of years, the spending in Washington has spun out of control. Michigan needs a U.S. Senator who will cut spending without raising taxes and help create jobs," said Hoekstra in a statement. "Replacing Debbie Stabenow means we'll be one step closer to the economic recovery our state's working families deserve."

Hoekstra represented Michigan's second district, in the western part of the lower peninsula along Lake Michigan, from 1993 through the end of last year. He stepped down in 2010 to run for governor, but lost in the GOP primary.

Stabenow, who's running for a third term in the Senate, was first elected in 2000 and won re-election by 16 points in 2006. Prior to Hoekstra's entrance into the race, two of the top non-partisan political handicappers rated the race as favoring Stabenow. The Cook Political Report termed the contest as "likely Democratic" and the Rothenberg Political Report rated it as "Democrat favored."

Stabenow has a large advantage as of now when it comes to fundraising. She brought in $1.5 million in campaign cash the past three months and has more than $4 million in the bank as of July 1.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John McCulloch, former Kent County Probate Judge Randy Hekman and northern Michigan businessman Peter Konetchy have already filed bids for the Republican Senate nomination. But it's fair to say that at this point Hoekstra is considered the favorite to win the GOP nomination.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was quick to respond to news that Hoekstra was entering the race.

"Lobbyist Pete Hoekstra has spent his career as an influence peddler for powerful special interests, all at the expense of Michigan seniors, workers, and middle-class. He took his record standing up for taxpayer-funded bonuses for bailed-out CEOs and giveaways for big oil and cashed out," said DSCC Press Secretary Shirpal Shah in a statement. "Pete Hoekstra may make a perfect lobbyist for special interests, but he would be a terrible Senator for Michigan families."

Democrats currently have a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate. They are defending 23 seats (21 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party) next year, with the GOP defending 10 seats.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter:

Filed under: 2012 • Debbie Stabenow • GOP • Peter Hoekstra • Senate
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. gt

    stabenow like lugar .. has had her chance ... the senate is full of senators who have been there for years and years ... new blood is need ,,to many old ,fat , senators like lugar and stabenow...

    July 20, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Maybe the GOP got the candidate they would like to run (with the possibility of winning), but will he pass the Grover-Norquist-Tea-Party-Club-for-Growth-Anti-Abortion-Anti-Gay litmus test that will win him the nomination? Or will that honor go to someone so far out in right field (as it appears to have done over the last couple of years) to the point that the GOP candidate will have painted himself so far into a corner that most Independents and some Republicans will find Senator Stabenow to be significantly more of an acceptable candidate.

    July 20, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. GI Joe

    Oh lord, Not Hoekstra! I hope people remember all the crappy stuff he has done in the past.

    July 20, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Stabenow? Oh happy day if she gets her walking papers.

    July 20, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Almost every state-wide candidate with an "R" behind their name will lose in 2012. That's not a prediction. It will be history repeating itself. What history you ask? The elections of 2011, of course. The

    Republicans still think their messaging is flawed. I've got news for them, it is flawed. But the problem not just delivery, but mainly the content. They think Americans are not listening. Americans are listening to the Republicans, and they do not like what they hear at all.

    July 20, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Sniffit

    "Looking at the camera, the congresswoman from neighboring Minnesota says increasing the borrowing limit "goes completely contrary to commonsense and how I grew up in Iowa."

    Yawn. She voted for Ryan's Pathology of Plutocracy budget in April, which would add $6T+ to the deficit over the next decade and absolutely, unequivocally require the debt ceilnig to be raised several times during that period.

    At least she figured out where the camera was this time though, eh?

    July 20, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. End GOPerate greed

    Huckstra is a boot-licking bafoon of the highest order. In the past he has only worked for the benefit of those who agree (27% of general population) with his narrow and weak ideaology of fear and loathing.

    July 20, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Phil in KC

    Hoekstra will put up a stronger fight than the lesser-known individuals, no doubt about it. But I think the Democrats are on the right path in casting him as favoring special interests and the rich. That should play well in Michigan.

    July 20, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. Aaron C

    I remember his lies about Iraq and Afganastan before he left office last time. Do not forget the leak from the Intellegence comittee that he was on. It will be harder for Hoekstra to run a state wide race than the safe district he had in Southwest Michigan.

    July 20, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Russell

    Correction: Hoekstra was elected to Congress in 1992.

    July 20, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |