Foe says Upton vulnerablePublished 9:07pm Thursday, January 19, 2012
Jack Hoogendyk thinks this time things might be different.
The Kalamazoo County Republican, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Fred Upton for the 6th District seat, said he hopes that increased campaign funding, the incumbent’s increasing “vulnerability” and his own experience from his 2010 campaign will equate to a win this year.
Hoogendyk, 56, said, until the past month, he wasn’t planning on running again. But after looking at Upton’s voting record, he said he felt compelled to give it another run.
“If you look at the Heritage Action scorecard, he is 51 to 52 percent conservative, right down the middle of the road at best,” he said. “We need much more conservative representation.”
Hoogendyk said Upton’s support of continued spending, raising the national debt ceiling and regulation is reason for change.
“We need to get serious about reductions in the budget,” said Hoogendyk, who represented the Michigan 61st District from 2003 to 2009. “I have a voting record in Lansing that exemplifies that I’m serious about reducing spending. It’s not just rhetoric. It’s record.”
A surprise move
Upton expressed surprise that Hoogendyk will challenge him again.
“Jack Hoogendyk called me just before Labor Day and told me I was doing a good job and he wasn’t running against me,” Upton said. “My focus on job creation and commonsense reforms hasn’t changed, but apparently Jack’s view has.”
But Hoogendyk, in an interview with the Star Thursday, said he was just calling to congratulate Upton on his win after realizing he hadn’t done so on election night.
“I told him that I respect him as my congressman, but I didn’t say I wouldn’t run against him,” Hoogendyk said. “I wouldn’t make a promise I can’t necessarily keep.”
Hoogendyk tallied 43 percent of the vote in the 2010 primary against Upton, despite being heavily outspent. Upton, a 13-term incumbent, spent $2 million in comparison to Hoogendyk’s $62,000.
No war chest
While Hoogendyk says he expects to be financially backed by some conservative organizations and “do much better” in campaign fundraising this year, he admitted he won’t come close to Upton’s war chest.
Still, he said he believes Upton is “vulnerable.”
“The Congress approval rating is at an all-time low,” Hoogendyk said. “Fred Upton is vulnerable by association. He’s a 25-year incumbent and only adding to the problem.”
It also helps Hoogendyk that the national conservative organization Club for Growth has launched a series of ads attacking Upton’s voting record.
Hoogendyk calls himself a “Constitutional Conservative” and says he is not out to just “please constituents” but “uphold the Constitution.”
Upton, in a statement this week, defended his voting record.
“I have been fighting to create jobs, dismantle Obamacare and cut government waste that harms our Southwest Michigan economy,” Upton said. “We continue to pass legislation in the Energy Commerce Committee that I chair that focuses on reducing the deficit and removing job-stifling regulations.”