That was fast.
Seemingly as soon as Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John P. McCulloch entered the race for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012, he has withdrawn his candidacy and thrown his support behind former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra.
The third-term Republican formally announced his Senate bid earlier this month and yesterday, Tuesday, July 26, ended his campaign and backed Hoekstra, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly two decades and waged an unsuccessful campaign for the GOP nomination for governor in 2010.
Hoekstra has also netted the endorsements of other top county Republicans, including Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr., and Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
“I entered the race for two reasons,” McCulloch said in a press release. “I believe Debbie Stabenow has been a part of the problem, not a part of the solution. The Obama/Stabenow policies have not created jobs but they have created massive budget deficits and massive federal debt.
“The second reason I ran is because no one else was stepping forward,” he said. “There was no doubt in my mind that my background and proven record prepared me for the campaign and to serve as a U.S. Senator. However, that has changed. Pete Hoekstra’s decision to run means that we Republicans now have a candidate who has run statewide and has the high name identification that will allow him to raise the money that will be needed to beat Debbie Stabenow. Pete Hoekstra has proven over 18 years as a member of Congress that he has the ability, the background, the courage, and the leadership skills to be a great U.S. Senator.”
He also urged the other Republican contenders — former Kent County Judge Randy Hekman, Dr. Rob Steele, Detroit educator Clark Durant and any other candidate or potential candidate — to withdraw their candidacy and throw their support to Hoekstra.
The former congressman was under pressure from Republican brass to enter the race against Stabenow after many other reported top-tier candidates declined to challenge the second-term Democratic U.S. senator.
McCulloch’s nascent campaign was met with skepticism by some who said that the Royal Oak Republican would be at a significant fund-raising and name recognition disadvantage against Stabenow, a former state lawmaker.
“After a good deal of reflection, I’ve decided that I cannot sit on the sidelines while the President and U.S. Senate mortgage our children and grandchildren’s future,” Hoekstra said in a statement announcing that he filed the appropriate paperwork to kick off a campaign.
And now that the U.S. Senate bid is dead in the water, McCulloch said he is running for re-election to his current countywide position.
“We’re still in the throes of our issues with Detroit (Water and Sewerage) that are in front of (federal Judge Sean F. Cox),” he said. “There’s still plenty of work to do.”