JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Michigan Republicans selected former Rep. Pete Hoekstra to take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in November, while three GOP contenders were locked in a tight race Tuesday to oppose Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
In another closely watched Michigan primary, Democratic Rep. John Conyers staved off a primary challenge in a slightly redrawn district to advance to November’s election, when he will be strongly favored to win a 25th consecutive term in Congress.
In the Missouri contest, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri led former state treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner with about half the vote reported in Missouri. The winner and McCaskill will compete in what will be one of the most closely watched Senate races of 2012.
Hoekstra easily outpaced his nearest challenger, Clark Durant, overcoming a late push by Durant that included sharp attacks on his conservative record and cast him as a Washington insider.
Primary elections were being held in four states Tuesday. The Missouri race figured to have the greatest national significance: The GOP needs to net four seats from Democrats to gain control of the Senate and Republicans viewed McCaskill as among their top targets this year.