Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Hoekstra Challenge in Michigan U.S. Senate Race Faces Long Historical Odds

Bookmark and Share

It has been over 150 years since an ex-U.S. Representative won a Senate seat in Michigan

petehoekstra.jpgThe announcement this week that former nine-term Michigan U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra would challenge two-term Democratic incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow may signal continued optimism for the state's GOP, who took back the governor's mansion in 2010 as well as picked up two U.S. House seats, four state senate seats, and 19 state house seats.

Although Hoekstra does not have the field to himself en route to the Republican nomination, he is trying to achieve what few Michigan politicians have accomplished in the last 100 years.

A Smart Politics study of Michigan election data finds that over the last century, only five out of 17 candidates with U.S. House experience have won Senate seats (29 percent) and each of these five were sitting members of the House at the time of their victory.

After 18 years in the House, Hoekstra has been out of office since January after his failed GOP gubernatorial bid last year.

Overall, 13 U.S. Senators in Michigan history were formerly U.S. Representatives prior to their tenure in the upper legislative chamber.

Eight of these Senators, however, won their seats before popular vote elections were introduced in 1914: Democrat Charles Stuart (elected in 1852) and Republicans Kinsley Bingham (1858), Jacob Howard (1860), Thomas Ferry (1870), Omar Conger (1880), Julius Burrows (1894), William Smith (1906), and Charles Townsend (1910).

(Another Senator, Whig William Woodbridge elected in 1840, was formerly a House Delegate from Michigan Territory).

That leaves just five popularly elected U.S. Senators who formerly served in the U.S. House: Democrat Prentiss Brown (1936), Republicans Charles Potter (1952) and Robert Griffin (1966), Democrat Donald Riegle (1976), and Stabenow (2000). (Note: Griffin was both appointed to his seat in 1966 and won a special election later that year).

All five of these Senators had one thing in common: they were all sitting U.S. House members at the time they ascended to the Senate. .

In fact, it has been 151 years since the last ex-member of the U.S. House was elected to the Senate: Republican Jacob Howard in 1860.

Howard had served one term in the House of Representatives as a Whig in the 27th Congress from 1840-1841.

Another shared characteristic of these five sitting U.S. House members is that they were not quite D.C. fixtures when they were elected to the Senate, as all had served less than a decade in the House.

Brown, Potter, and Stabenow were in their second term, Griffin was in his fourth, and Riegle had served just shy of five full terms.

Stabenow was the only one of the five to oust an incumbent from office - defeating one-term GOPer Spencer Abraham by 1.6 points in 2000.

Brown, Potter, and Riegle won open seats while Griffin was appointed to and then successfully defended his seat in 1966 after the death of Democrat Patrick McNamara.

Against these five victories are more than double as many unsuccessful runs by sitting or former U.S. House members over the last century.

Several candidates with U.S. House service on their resumes failed to win their party's nomination, such as Republicans Patrick Kelley (in 1922) and Robert Huber (1976) and Democrats James O'Hara (1976) and Richard Vander Veen (1976).

Another eight such candidates were defeated in the general election:

· In 1930, former two-term Democratic U.S. House member Thomas Weadock lost by 57.2 points to Republican incumbent James Couzens.

· In 1948, former five-term Democratic U.S. House member Frank Hook lost by 2.2 points to Republican incumbent Homer Ferguson.

· In 1960, four-term GOP U.S. Representative Alvin Bentley lost by 3.7 points to Democratic incumbent Patrick McNamara.

· In 1976, five-term GOP U.S. Representative Marvin Esch lost by 5.6 points to fellow five-term Democratic U.S. House member (and former Republican) Donald Riegle.

· In 1982, former six-term GOP U.S. House member Philip Ruppe lost by 16.9 points to Riegle.

· In 1988, former one-term GOP U.S. House member Jim Dunn lost by 21.9 points to Riegle.

· In 1990, three-term Republican U.S. Representative Bill Schuette lost by 16.3 points to Democratic incumbent Carl Levin.

· In 1994, nine-term Democratic U.S. Representative Bob Carr lost an open seat race by 9.1 points to Republican Spencer Abraham.

Stabenow faces a growing GOP field with $4.1 million cash on hand through the 2nd Quarter of 2011.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Chip Cravaack: Building Political Ties Between Minnesota and New Hampshire
Next post: Minnesota 2012 US Senate Race Fundraising Down 65 Percent from 2008

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting