Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER Former state representative Jack Hoogendyk, of Kalamazoo, visited Buchanan Thursday. He is running against U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.

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Hoogendyk stumps in Buchanan

Published 10:58pm Thursday, March 15, 2012

BUCHANAN — If the results of the Michigan presidential primary are any indication of the position of 6th District voters, Jack Hoogenyk believes he’s got a pretty good shot at dethroning U.S. Rep. Fred Upton.

Upton, a Republican from St. Joseph, has endorsed Mitt Romney, who narrowly edged Rick Santorum in the Michigan primary last month.

Hoogendyk, a former state representative, backs Rick Santorum, who beat Romney in the 6th District with 43 percent of the vote. Romney took 37 percent.

“The strong message from the primary is that Romney, who is fairly or unfairly positioned as the moderate, took only 37 percent of the vote in the district,” Hoogendyk told the Star during a campaign stop in Buchanan Thursday.

Of the five counties fully in District 6 — Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and VanBuren — only one backed Romney. He won by just 663 votes in Kalamazoo.

Hoogendyk said Upton, a 13-term incumbent, has established himself as a moderate, citing his votes for the Cash for Clunkers program and the auto bailouts.

In a speech to the Berrien County Manufacturer’s Council Wednesday, Upton defended his support of the bailout, saying it was a decision between “bankruptcy and liquidation.”

Hoogendyk said auto companies should have been allowed to go bankrupt.

“They would most likely have survived. Instead the taxpayers have to pay,” he said.

Hoogendyk says he is fiscally and socially conservative and believes in limited government.

“People are sick and tired of the government telling them how to live their lives and taking more and more of their money and regulating how they live,” he said.

Hoogendyk challenged Upton in the last Republican primary and despite being heavily outspent, he took 43 percent of the vote. Upton spent $1 million, while Hoogendyk spent $62,000 in 2010.

With more time for fundraising this year, Hoogendyk said he will have a more loaded campaign war chest and more name recognition from last year’s run. He also is proud to be backed by the Tea Party, which he believes is gaining momentum in southwest Michigan.

“As much as the Tea Party accomplished two years ago, this year they are much more organized,” he said.

Hoogendyk has called for six debates, one in each county in the district, during this year’s race. No live debates took place in 2010, only one on St. Joseph radio station WSJM, despite many challenges from Hoogendyk.

For more information on the Hoogendyk campaign, visit www.jackformichigan.com.

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