Michigan Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra — having announced he’d retire from congress next year to run for governor in his home state — is now being pushed by House colleagues to stay.
When President Obama appointed then-ranking Armed Services Committee Republican John McHugh (R-N.Y.) to be Secretary of the Army, the dominos began toppling. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) was the ranking member on the House Education and Labor Committee, but he gave that up to seek McHugh’s ranking seat on Armed Services. When McKeon won that vote in the House Republican caucus earlier this week, that opened up the plum post he had on Education and Labor.
Which created Hoekstra’s temptation: as the next-in-line, he’d be a shoe-in to be ranking member on the Education committee. And in that post — especially if Republicans regain the majority in the House — he could pursue one of his longstanding and biggest goals: repairing the damage he believes was done by President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” act.
In March 2005, Hoekstra led fifty Republicans in introducing a bill to relieve a lot of the huge costs and burdens the Bush plan created. Then, Hoekstra told the Washington Post, “President Bush and I just see education fundamentally differently…The president believes in empowering bureaucrats in Washington, and I believe in local and parental control.”
Since then, he has spoken frequently of his desire to fix NCLB, but as ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that’s not within range.
A source very close to Hoekstra told me Wednesday night that he is committed to the governor’s race. Even the temptation to fix NCLB won’t keep him in Washington.