Former Rep. Hoekstra Plans Run for U.S. Senate

By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN | July 20, 2011 | 7:00 AM EDT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra (HOOK'-stra) is launching a campaign to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

According to a campaign statement obtained by The Associated Press, the longtime congressman and conservative Republican will announce Wednesday that he's setting up a campaign committee to challenge the two-term senator in 2012.

Three other Republicans are already in the race.

Hoekstra spent 18 years in Congress before losing a gubernatorial bid last year. He declined to get into the Senate race three months ago. But in the statement Hoekstra says he decided he can't "sit on the sidelines" while Democrats try to raise taxes to balance the federal budget.

Stabenow has $4 million on hand for her re-election campaign. She won 57 percent of the vote in 2006.