Rep. Upton may face Club for Growth-backed primary opponent in 2012

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) could be in for a tough primary rematch against former state Sen. Jack Hoogendyk, who is in Washington, D.C., meeting with operatives and impressed at least one major conservative group, the Club for Growth.

"The Club met with him, came away impressed and we're taking a hard look at the race," said Club spokesperson Barney Keller.

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Hoogendyk ran against Upton in 2010, and despite being outspent by $2 million to $62,000, held Upton to 57 percent of the vote. If the deep-pocketed, fiscally conservative Club for Growth decides to back him he would likely have the resources necessary to give Upton a serious scare.

Upton has a centrist record in the House that includes backing increases in the federal minimum wage, expanding the State Children's Health Care Insurance Progran, more funding for Amtrak, and the "Cash for clunkers" program that offered rebates for trading in for more fuel-efficient cars. He also opposed the 2007 troop surge in Iraq and supported federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

Hoogendyk has not yet officially announced a campaign, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Should the Club help Hoogendyk beat Upton in a primary, it would not be the first time the business group took out an incumbent House Republican in Michigan. In 2006, they helped Rep. Tim Walberg beat then-Rep. Joe Schwarz.

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