Debbie Stabenow must be doing something right.
In a year in which Democratic senators seem to be threatened for re-election, Stabenow is in a comfortable position.
The two-term Michigan senator holds one of the few reliably safe seats for Democrats this year. According to a polling average compiled by the political Website RealClearPolitics, Stabenow has a 14-point advantage over her Republican opponent, former U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra.
She also has nearly $7 million in the bank - one of the healthiest accounts of any Democratic senator. Hoekstra has $1.5 million.
Stabenow is chairwoman of the Senate's Agriculture Committee, which is tasked this year with renewing the federal farm bill. She also has statewide name recognition in Michigan due to her 11 years in the state House, three years in the state Senate, and an unsuccessful run for governor.
But she didn't win her election cheaply. Stabenow's election in 2000 was one of the most expensive races in Michigan history. And she won narrowly, 49 percent to 48 percent against Republican incumbent Spencer Abraham.
But Stabenow has made inroads with Michigan voters, primarily through her advocacy for prescription drugs from Canada - she organized bus trips to the country for senior citizens in the state, which Senate Democrats recognized by naming her head of a prescription drug task force.
Working with Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, Stabenow also negotiated a prescription drug trade pact with Canada.
She has also worked with Michigan's senior senator, Carl Levin, to reduce the amount of municipal waste that Canada was importing into Michigan. The country was sending waste to a landfill south of Detroit; working with Levin, Stabenow ended the practice.
The latest polling average from RealClearPolitics has Stabenow at 50 percent and Hoekstra at 36 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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