Senior GOP Congressman Loses Primary
A POLITICAL newcomer who campaigned on a bicycle pedaled his way to a Republican primary upset over Guy Vander Jagt, one of the most powerful members of Congress.
Mr. Vander Jagt said that a "ferocious tide against incumbents" swamped his bid for a 14th term Tuesday.
Peter Hoekstra, a 38-year-old businessman whose campaign included a 270-mile bike ride across the largely rural southwestern Michigan district, beat Vander Jagt by 46 percent to 40 percent.
It was the first primary challenge to Vander Jagt since he first ran for Congress in 1966. So far, 15 members of the United States House have lost in primary races this year.
Vander Jagt has been chairman since 1978 of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which helps GOP House candidates nationwide with fund-raising and strategy.
Mr. Hoekstra said his bike trek pointed out the differences between him and the political establishment. "This was very much a grass-roots campaign," he said.
The two other Michigan congressional incumbents facing primary opposition - Detroit Democrats John Conyers Jr. and Barbara-Rose Collins - rolled up wide margins of victory Tuesday.
But in Kansas, state Sen. Eric Yost defeated US Rep. Dick Nichols by 45 percent to 34 percent in the GOP primary. Mr. Nichols, a freshman congressman, moved from his McPherson home to a Wichita apartment only in June and was labeled a carpetbagger by Mr. Yost.