Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is projected to win relection, defeating her Republican challenger Pete Hoekstra.
Incumbent Stabenow, who will serve a third six-year term in the Senate, currently leads Hoekstra 56 percent to 41 percent with 23 percent of precincts reporting.
Stabenow was expected to win by several political experts. Although her approval rating has consistently been hovering around 40 percent over the last four years, she had an almost 20-point lead over Hoekstra heading into Tuesday, according to several polls.
Stabenow expressed gratitude to Michigan voters and her staff in a statement released Tuesday night.
“It’s all about Michigan families. I was born and raised here, my family all lives here, and Michigan will always be my home,” Stabenow said in the statement. “We live in an incredible state, and there is no greater privilege than to represent Michigan in the U.S. Senate.”
Stabenow has been a vocal supporter of the auto bailout, and has also favored easier access to health care for the middle class, while establishing a heavy focus for environmentally-friendly innovation, with a heavier focus on green energy and the preservation of the Great Lakes.
Stabenow gained increased bi-partisan support in Michigan for her farm bill, aimed to increase federal subsidies of crop insurance to help Michigan farmers during tough seasons.
“I really believe from the bottom of my heart that if we use all our talents, if we create a level field for trades, if we continue to out-educate and out-train … we will move forward in Michigan,” Stabenow said in her victory speech Tuesday night. ”If we work together instead of going to our corners … I honestly believe that Michigan and America will come roaring back, and Michigan will be in the driver’s seat.”
Hoekstra has pursued an aggressive campaign, painting himself as a fiscally conservative candidate that would cut spending both in-state and federally. Hoekstra also promised to focus on pro-life policies and Second Amendment rights.
The race, which has been defined by negative campaigning and tension, was set as early as Hoekstra released a controversial Super Bowl ad against Stabenow, which many found to be racially intolerant.
Hoekstra continued to release aggressive campaigns with a string of online advertisements calling Stabenow “the worst senator.”
The conflict between the two parties became evident earlier this month when both parties announced that senatorial debates would not occur because of a disagreement between both 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.
Michigan leaned Democratically throughout the night, with Barack Obama also projected to win the state.