Beyond those two, GOP officials admit that they're not entirely certain who else could emerge as a viable candidate. One intriguing name often whispered by Lansing insiders is GOP Rep. Candice Miller
, a five-term congresswoman who handily won several terms as Secretary of State. Miller has good name identification throughout the Wolverine State, and in a district where Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.) won only a 6,000-vote majority in 2008, Miller won by more than 120,000 votes.
Other potential congressional candidates, as rumored by GOP officials, are Rep. Thad McCotter
and Mike Rogers
, although it seems unlikely that Rogers would forfeit his chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee for the unchartered waters of a Senate campaign against a two-term incumbent whose party's president leads the top of the ticket.
Businessman Peter Konechty
(R) and Randy Hekman
(R), a former juvenile court judge in Kent County have already announced that they are running. In a March interview
, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak
ruffled some GOP feathers when he predicted that a candidate who is "head and shoulders" above some of the mentioned contenders would emerge. Hoekstra later called
Schostak's comments "unfortunate." He then received an apology from Schostak, who also said Friday that Hoekstra "will always be a conservative leader" and will be "working closely" with the Michigan GOP in the future.
"While we have decided as a family to not enter this race, we are confident that the Republican candidate for Senate can win in November 2012," Hoekstra said in his Friday statement.
Stabenow, meanwhile, raised
$1.2 million during the first quarter of the year and had $3 million cash on hand.
Updated at 2:52 p.m.