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Pete Hoekstra primary rival calls TV ad ‘demeaning’

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One of Pete Hoekstra’s (R) primary rivals is attacking the former House member for an ad that used crude Asian stereotypes.

A screenshot from Hoekstra’s ad.

Clark Durant, a Christian charter school founder challenging Hoekstra in the race to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), put out his own ad calling Hoekstra’s controversial spot “demeaning.”

A November EPIC-MRA poll found Hoekstra with a wide lead over Durant, who is not very well known statewide. But the backlash over Hoekstra’s ad from both Republicans and Democrats could give Durant a chance to move up.

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“Congressman Pete Hoekstra claims to know a lot about China. Does he know the Chinese word for hypocrisy?” the narrator asks over a clip from Hoekstra’s ad, which featured a woman riding a bike through a rice paddy and speaking broken English. The words “Hoekstra’s demeaning TV ad” play out across the screen. The ad then shifts to policy:

“Hoekstra attacks Debbie Stabenow for excessive spending. But like Stabenow, Hoekstra voted to increase the debt ceiling and spending by trillions of dollars.,” the narrator says. “And Hoekstra voted for the Wall Street bailout.” It’s a small ad buy — $61,000.

Durant launched the ad while announcing the endorsement of Alicia Ping, an Asian-American Republican County Commissioner from Washtenaw County who had previously leaned towards Hoekstra.*

”It is distasteful, demeaning, and un-American to use an Asian American woman to lash out at the Chinese government,” Durant said in a statement. “I take issue with the Chinese government and their practices, not with the Chinese people.”

Hoekstra has pulled the Web site that went with his ad and launched a new spot that does not mention China, although two days ago he said he would “absolutely” keep the offending ad on the air.

* This post originally stated that Ping had endorsed Hoekstra. She had said she was leaning towards doing so but had not formally endorsed.

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