Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Senate update - Hoekstra is now in

Pete Hoekstra has announced for the US Senate seat. Originally, he said he wasn't running, and then he changed his mind. I have some concerns about this.

Six years ago, we had a US Senate primary. At the time, the race was between Jerry Zandstra and Keith Butler. Zandstra in the end wasn't on the ballot. Bouchard, the eventual nominee jumped in relatively late. The word I heard was that Bouchard was promised a lot of support from NRSC and ended up getting almost nothing. Bouchard also had his eye more on the gubernatorial race, and unfortunately to me seemed like a candidate who was talked into running. His 20 pt loss not only hurt his senate race, but also his run for governor.

Is Pete Hoekstra running because he really wants the job, or is he running because he's taking one for the team? If he's taking one for the team, he needs to drop out because it will be a repeat of 06. If he really wants the job and is willing to do what needs to be done, like he did in the primary against the "unbeatable" Guy Vander Jaght, he can win. Stabenow is beatable, but she knows how to campaign. Any candidate will need to be prepared. She always runs pretending to be a populist while being a yes(wo)man voting for whatever Harry Reid wants.

Hoekstra has some advantages and disadvantages. He's the establishment pick for the senate race. He was also supported by most of the establishment for governor in 2010. Hoesktra had some votes and comments that hurt him, mostly regarding the 2nd bailout vote in 2008 (also supported by Stabenow), and a comment in the gubernatorial race about taxes on services. I was told by one Hoekstra supporter that the reason for that is that he supports the fairtax. I'm not quite sold on it 100%, but depending on its form it is something I would consider supporting on the federal level if it eliminates FICA and the self employment tax.

On social issues, there's little worry with Hoekstra. He's pro-life. He's been near perfect on 2nd Amendment votes for about 15 years. He's learned about that issue during his time in congress. I don't think he'll mess up there.

Other candidates listed at politics1 as running are businessmen Chad Dewey and Peter Konetchy, American Family Association's Gary Glenn, tea party activist Rick Wilson, and pastor and former prosecutor/juvenile court judge Randy Hekman. I think Dr Rob Steele is also running.

If I was in Hoekstra's shoes, I wouldn't count on the support of the establishment as meaning that I've won the primary. This is the age of the internet. This is the age of many establishment supported candidates going down in the 2010 primaries. They got arrogant and elitist or listened to arrogant and elitist consultants. They lost. Hoekstra, and all of the other candidates for that matter, need to work their butts off in the primary. They need to visit the voters and the conservative base, and hit the doors.

I'm undecided right now, except that I'd support the winner of this primary against Stabenow. None of the folks here are in Rick Snyder, Bill Milliken, or Joe Schwarz territory. I'm looking for work ethic, organization, non politispeak language, and the best chance to beat Stabenow. That's who will get my primary vote in 2010 senate race.

Lastly, whoever the nominee is needs support and to not be abandoned like Bouchard was. The NRSC was a joke. It's better than it was in 06 under Dole, but it's still an organization where I wouldn't give one red cent even if I had money.

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