Stabenow defeats Hoekstra to retain Senate seat

By Katie Burke, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 6, 2012

DETROIT — Incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D–Mich.) celebrated a decisive victory for re-election to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday amid waving American flags and loud chants of “Debbie!” at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino here.

Stabenow, who will begin a third term in the U.S. Senate in January, defeated former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, her Republican challenger, who spent election night in Grand Rapids. The battle between the contenders was marked by tension in the months leading up to Election Day, particularly in light of critical ads launched by Hoekstra against Stabenow lambasting her for her financial policies and dubbing her “Debbie Spend-It-Now” and himself as “Pete Spend-It-Not.”

Stabenow earned 176,915 votes, compared to Hoekstra’s 61,180, according to the Michigan Secretary of State. The incumbent won with a 58-percent to 39-percent margin, according to the Associated Press.

In her address, Stabenow told the crowd that the support she received from Michigan voters was crucial to her success.

“This vote was about Michigan … and that’s what my campaign was about and I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said.

Stabenow, whose victory was announced relatively early in the evening, added that she was optimistic about how the rest of the results for the Democratic Party would play out.

“We did it!” Stabenow said. “I have a feeling it’s going to be a great night.”

She said her next term will be dedicated to the economic recovery of Michigan and touted the resilience of the residents of the state.

“We are coming back,” Stabenow said. “The truth is, that’s what we do.”

Stabenow said she was pleased with Obama’s defense of the auto industry during his first term in the presidency, and stood behind him in his campaign for re-election.

She said maintaining an optimistic attitude and fostering cooperation between both parties is crucial to resuscitating the state in the coming years.

“We believe in Michigan, we believe in our country, we believe we will work together,” she said.

Hoekstra, who hails from Holland on the west side of the state, ran for the Senate after he lost in a bid for governor in 2010. He won in a landslide in the primary, but struggled gaining wide support in his general election effort.

"Although we were not successful, we must not let up as the challenges that face Michigan families remain real," Hoekstra said in a statement. "I congratulate Senator Stabenow on her third term in the U.S. Senate and hope that she will listen to the ideas from the other side of the aisle to form policies that will get the job done for the people of Michigan."

— The Associated Press contributed to this report