Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) endorsed former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) for the Senate Wednesday morning over his primary rival, former Christian charter schools founder Clark Durant. The two are vying to challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
"We need people in government who are sincere, who are smart, who don't lose themselves or their principles, and that's exactly what you have in Pete Hoekstra," said Ryan in a statement. "For years, Pete Hoekstra has led the fight against massive spending increases and he's advanced solutions that would create jobs and grow the economy. Pete knows what he believes, stands by his principles, and he understands Washington can't keep spending money it doesn't have. I hope you'll send us Pete Hoekstra to help us save this country."
Ryan, who has pushed for the privatization of Medicare, is a favorite of conservative Republicans, some of whom clamored for him to run for president. His support could help Hoekstra with Tea Party members who have concerns about his voting record, including support of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which bailed out Wall Street.
Democrats attacked the endorsement. "Hoekstra is making very clear that if he is elected, one of his major objectives will be to end Medicare and gut Social Security," said Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer. "The plan Paul Ryan and Pete Hoekstra are fighting for would double seniors' health insurance costs while giving millionaires another huge tax cut and protecting billions in giveaways for special interests."
Hoekstra has been rolling out endorsements from prominent Republican politicians, many of whom he served with in the House. Earlier announcements include Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Steve King (Iowa) and Candice Miller (Mich.).
This post was updated at 10:01 a.m.