Hoekstra Weighing 2010 Gubernatorial Bid

Posted December 3, 2008 at 5:13pm

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) on Wednesday denied reports that he is retiring, but said he is “very seriously” looking at a run for governor in 2010 although he has not made a final decision yet. “People here in Michigan have known for the past five or six months that once we got past the November election, that I would take a look at this governor’s seat here in Michigan,” Hoekstra said. When asked whether he was retiring, Hoekstra replied, “not yet, no.” A local Wolverine State political newsletter reported this week that Hoekstra is planning to announce his retirement and form an exploratory committee for governor in the coming weeks. Hoekstra said that rumor likely came from his visit to the state Capitol on Tuesday, where he met with Republican Members of the state House and Senate. “There are lots of people who are always looking for the slightest hint that one of us may be doing something else because they’d really like our job,” Hoekstra said. “I figure that’s what probably triggered this report.” Hoekstra cannot transfer any of his federal campaign dollars to a gubernatorial bid, putting him at a disadvantage over announced candidates if he decides to run for governor. But as of now, Hoekstra said he has no plans to file a gubernatorial exploratory committee in the next couple of weeks. If Hoekstra were to run for governor, he would almost certainly have a primary opponent — either a statewide official or another Member. Attorney General Mike Cox formed his exploratory committee two days after last month’s election, while Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is also said to be interested in running. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s term ends in 2010, and Democratic Lt. Gov. John Cherry is mentioned as a possible successor. Although Democrats picked up two GOP-held House seats in the state in this year’s elections, Hoekstra’s western Michigan 2nd district is fairly reliable Republican territory and an open seat would not immediately appear to be a top Democratic opportunity.