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Rep. Hoekstra to Retire, Eyeing Bid for Governor

By Ben Pershing

The 111th Congress hasn't even begun yet, and it looks as though we already have our first Republican retiree of the cycle -- Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.).

Unlike some other members of his party who may choose to leave the House just because they're discouraged by serving in the minority, Hoekstra looks to be leaving with an eye toward higher office. Hoekstra told the Detroit News "he has held meetings with Republicans across the state, laying the groundwork for a bid for governor."

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.)
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) is laying groundwork for a bid for governor.

Current Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) will be term-limited out of her post in 2010, leaving a vacancy in the statehouse that Hoekstra and several other ambitious Michiganders could hope to fill. On the Republican side, state Attorney General Mike Cox has formed an exploratory committee, and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is also viewed as a potential candidate. Two Democrats -- Michigan State University trustee George Perles and Flint Mayor Don Williamson -- have already declared their candidacies, and Lt. Gov. John Cherry (D) is also seen as a likely candidate.

Michigan has moved from swing-state status solidly into the blue category of late, as the sputtering economy has driven the state's voters into the arms of Democrats. Barack Obama won Michigan by 16 points last month, and the current debate over the auto bailout, which was scuttled last week by Senate Republicans, probably didn't help the GOP in the state.

Hoekstra's last term will be his ninth one in the House. He currently serves as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, though he would be term-limited out of that job after 2010 were he not planning to retire from the chamber. Hoekstra's 2nd district, which stretches along the shores of Lake Michigan on the western side of the state, has long leaned Republican. President Bush won 60 percent of the vote there in 2004, and Hoekstra has repeatedly been reelected with ease. But the economic situation and the statewide shift toward Democrats could conceivably put the House seat in play.

By Ben Pershing  |  December 15, 2008; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign , House  
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Next: And the Winner (Loser?) Is ... Illinois


This seems to provide an extra push for Obama to name Granholm as Secretary of Labor. If she leaves and Cherry takes over the governorship, he can ensure the party holds onto the seat in the 2010 election.

Posted by: kfs_enterprises | December 15, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Pete, Please just go home to Grand Rapids. Michigan will not survive another GOP governor. We are still suffering from the last one and all his tax-free living give-aways.

Posted by: skramsv | December 15, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Bush got 60%, but what % did McCain get?

Posted by: newageblues | December 16, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Do term limits in MI apply to US Representatives? I don't think so.

Posted by: PASSTU | December 16, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: atsegga | December 17, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Heaven help us..As a resident, for much of my younger life, of one of those tourist-rural lakeshore communities in Hoekstra's district, I can only say he's the last thing Michigan needs at the state's helm! America..guys 'n gals..this is the clown who posted the recipe for an A-bomb on his site, not so very long ago! Wanna-be terrorists step right up! The guy is a dinosaur and should be turned out to pasture, where he can quietly fade away and ultimately take his place as part of the future's fossilized permastrate. The only good thing about all this is that soon, he'll no longer be representing the district. Hopefully, my still-resident family and friends there will then come into the 21st century and elect someone who can finally, actually accomplish something positive for Western Michigan's folks!

Posted by: janbana | December 18, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Pete might sport the right name for the west Michigan crowd, but his right-wing wack politics are wearying to the country club set that still quietly rules the roost there in Grand Rapids. We're talking Jerry Ford Republicans who've been holding there noses for a couple of decades. That seat will be competitive again and he hasn't got a prayer running for Governor of Michigan. I don't care if God talked to him and told him so...

Posted by: isthisajoke | December 20, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate being able to weigh-in on Mr. Hoekstra as many of my knowledgeable and experienced fellow Michiganians have.

The man is a HACK. He has enough filthy lucre salted away to enjoy his retirement and thereby leave the people of Michigan in peace.

Posted by: Hub2 | December 22, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

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