GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann endorsed former Rep. Pete Hoekstra in the Michigan GOP Senate primary, despite Hoekstra’s close ties with the Teamsters union and his ardent opposition of state-level and national Right to Work laws.
In her endorsement statement, Bachmann made no mention of Hoekstra’s longtime friendship with Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., or Hoekstra’s public opposition and pushback against Right to Work laws like the one Bachmann is co-sponsoring in the U.S. House right now.
“Pete’s a great friend with a real vision for helping Michigan to lead the fight against the Obama/Stabenow agenda,” Bachmann said in her statement endorsing Hoekstra. “Replacing Barack Obama with a constitutional conservative is vital, but we also need an overhaul in the U.S. Senate. Pete Hoekstra is a real conservative. He joined me in starting the House Tea Party Caucus, and we need him as Michigan’s next senator. This is your opportunity to send a strong message to Washington by electing a senator who will work to restore the freedom that will put Michigan back to work with a pro-growth economy.”
Hoffa, Jr. and the Teamsters union have continually supported Hoekstra, contributing roughly a decade of endorsements and donations since the former congressman agreed to work against Right to Work laws. He also worked with Hoffa, Jr., to try to create more union jobs by opening up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to oil drilling.
Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart defended the congresswoman’s Hoekstra endorsement, adding that it doesn’t mean she’s against Right to Work legislation. “An endorsement doesn’t mean you believe 100% on every issue, but she supports Rep. Hoekstra,” Stewart said in an email to The Daily Caller.
One of Hoekstra’s several primary opponents, Right to Work advocate Gary Glenn, said at first he was shocked by Bachmann’s endorsement. But, after digging deeper into Bachmann’s ties to Hoekstra, it made more sense to him.
“The endorsement, at first glance, would seem to be inconsistent with Michele Bachmann’s campaign rhetoric,” Glenn told TheDC. “She has railed against both the Wall Street bailout and raising the debt ceiling to trillions of dollars, while Pete Hoekstra voted in favor of both.”
That’s not the only behavior from Hoekstra politically inconsistent with Bachmann’s public persona. Both Hoekstra and Bachmann co-sponsored 2007 legislation that would’ve forced every state and local government’s emergency personnel to join a union. The bill ultimately failed, but if successful, it would’ve federally mandated unionization of firefighters, police officers and EMTs.
“Michele Bachmann and Pete Hoekstra joined then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Debbie Stabenow in co-sponsoring legislation that, by federal mandate, would have forced every state and local government in America to unionize its firefighters, police officers and paramedics,” Glenn said. “So, apparently, Michele Bachmann and Pete Hoekstra and Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., aren’t strange bedfellows after all.”
National Right to Work Foundation president Mark Mix said the bill “would grant tremendous new powers to union officials across the country” so they could “unionize police officers, firefighters and EMTs across the whole nation.”
As for why Bachmann had originally supported the legislation in 2007, Stewart said career politicians hoodwinked her into it with false information — and Bachmann backed off quickly. “Michele is an ardent supporter of right to work,” Stewart said. “As a newber of Congress, she was given incorrect information and as soon as it was called to her attention that the bill was unconstitutional and an infringement on right to work, she wrote constituents and said she could not support the bill because she has always believed in right to work.”
Many mainstream media sources and polls have considered Hoekstra the frontrunner and shoo-in for the GOP nomination to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012. In early August, a Public Policy Polling poll found Hoekstra had support from 78 percent of likely Republican voters. On Sept. 2, a Practical Political Consulting poll found that Hoekstra had 86 percent Republican support in Michigan.
But a new Marketing Resource Group poll released earlier this week shows only 41 percent of Republicans statewide support Hoekstra.
Other than Glenn and Hoekstra, there are four other Republicans: Randy Hekman, Peter Konetchy, Clark Durant and Scotty Boman.
A spokesperson for Hoekstra didn’t return a request for comment for this story.