Politics

Stabenow, Hoekstra compete for U.S. Senate seat

Voters will have to decide between two distinct candidates and ideologies for the U.S. Senate on Election Day.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Republican nominee Pete Hoekstra could not seem to be further apart on the issues, as both candidates are running on very different platforms.

The race, which has been defined by negative campaigning and tension, boiled over earlier this month when both parties announced that senatorial debates would not occur because of a disagreement between the candidates. Hoekstra wanted six different debates, while Stabenow only wanted to participate in two, the traditional number. Reaching no agreement, the debates were called off by both campaigns.

“The race is tightening and she is becoming desperate,” Hoekstra said in response to recent Stabenow attack ads.

The Stabenow campaign rebuked that statement.

“Hoekstra has been pushing an agenda that would provide more taxpayer giveaways to special interests and millionaires, while Debbie believes we need to focus on middle-class families to turn the economy around,” Stabenow campaign spokesman Cullen Schwarz recently told the Associated Press.

The race’s hostile tone was set early as Hoekstra released a controversial Super Bowl ad against Stabenow, which many found to be racially intolerant.

Hoekstra has defended his aggressive approach, stating that Stabenow, who is running for a third six-year term, has enacted policies that have damaged economic growth.

On his campaign site, petespenditnot.com, Hoekstra idenitifies four areas of focus for his campaign, which will bring “conservative principles and values to Washington.”

Hoekstra said he strongly supports reforming the tax code.

“I have voted to reduce and eliminate some of the most burdensome taxes imposed on the American people,” Hoekstra states on his website.

He has pushed for the fair tax and the flat tax and has supported the elimination of the estate tax, which Hoekstra says overburdens businesses.

Hoekstra said one of his main focuses, if elected, will be balancing the budget, stating that he will look to streamline government programs and reign in the true drivers of the countries debt, which he identifies as entitlements.

“Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” Hoekstra said. “When I served on the House Budget Committee, we balanced the budget four consecutive times by making tough decisions.”

Hoekstra also plans to focus on preserving Second Amendment rights and pro-life legislation.

Stabenow presents a different focus than Hoekstra, with her campaign focusing on health care, small businesses, the environment and innovation.

The Senator’s website states that “small businesses pay, on average, 18 percent more than large businesses for the same coverage.” To combat this, Stabenow has introduced a new small business tax credit which she promises will make it easier for small businesses.

Stabenow also looks to increase Michigan’s output of pro-environmental practices.

She introduced the Battery Innovation Act, which aims to increase advanced battery manufacturing in Michigan. Stabenow has also enacted legislation that will erect barriers to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes and advocates for keeping the lakes, which she calls Michigan’s “greatest common asset,” clean from waste.

Stabenow also looks to further develop green energy sources in an attempt to curb pollution and create jobs.

She has also pledged to create the right economic conditions for small businesses by lowering their tax rates.

Although Stabenow’s approval rating has consistently been hovering around 40 percent over the last four years, she currently has an almost 20-point lead over Hoekstra heading into Tuesday, according to multiple polls.

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