Former House colleagues endorse Hoekstra

Three of former Rep. Pete Hoekstra's (R-Mich.) Republican House colleagues endorsed the Senate candidate Friday, the latest in the string of endorsements Hoekstra has out rolled this week to try to consolidate GOP support ahead of a likely primary.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), all Tea Party favorites, announced they will back Hoekstra's campaign a few days before Detroit Christian charter schools co-founder Clark Durant's planned announcement that he will join Hoekstra in the primary.

Hoekstra was endorsed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who beat him in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, earlier this week. Former Gov. John Engler said Wednesday that he was “hopeful Clark decides he will stay with education and let Pete be the candidate,” although he stoppped short of a full endorsement, while fellow Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) endorsed Hoekstra on Thursday.

Hoekstra starts as the front-runner in the race, and many Republicans in the state — and in Washington — hope he can avoid an expensive primary against Durant, whose fundraising network from the charter schools could make him a formidable candidate.

Durant also has the support of charter schools advocate and millionaire Betsy DeVos, former Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), and top Michigan GOP strategist Saul Anuzis.

The nominee will take on two-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who beat Abraham in 2000 to win her seat.