Hoekstra Easily Defeats Durant, Will Face Stabenow
Updated at 10:45 p.m.
Former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoesktra easily defeated opponent Clark Durant Tuesday in the primary for the Senate GOP nomination. With 36 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race with Hoekstra leading Durant 54 percent to 33 percent. A third candidate, Randy Hekman, lagged with 7 percent of the vote.
He will face Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in the general election. Public polling shows her comfortably ahead, but the state is looming as a presidential battleground.
National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn congratulated Hoesktra on his win.
"This November, Michiganders will have a very clear choice between continuing down the path of more reckless government spending, higher taxes, failed job growth and a record debt, or electing a common-sense, fiscally-responsible and proven leader like Pete Hoekstra who will focus on jobs first and foremost," said Cornyn in a statement.
Hoesktra's primary run wasn't smooth -- during the Super Bowl he aired a controversial ad that critics deemed racially-insensitive -- but no candidate was able to get the traction necessary to seriously challenge him.
The former nine-term congressman, who also ran for governor in 2010, was the only candidate with name recognition when the race began. A number of candidates ran to his right. But support didn't coalesce around Durant, the leading conservative alternative, until late in the game.