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Through the first quarter of 2012, Mr. Upton — named one of the 50 richest members of Congress by Roll Call, with an estimated net worth of $7.93 million — has raised $2.5 million and spent $897,000, according to the campaign-finance website OpenSecrets.org. Mr. Hoogendyk said he reported about $76,000 in campaign contributions from January through March, outpacing the $62,000 budget he had two years ago for his entire campaign.

Mr. Hoogendyk, 56, said he thinks that the national attention the race has drawn will help him raise enough money to stay competitive and that he doesn’t need $2 million to win. After all, he pulled in 43 percent of the primary vote in 2010, even though he was outspent $2 million to $62,000.

“The reasons why this race is so competitive is because we have a finger-in-the-wind, moderate-to-Democratic Republican in a district filled with people paying attention like they never have before,” Mr. Hoogendyk said. “They have gone from angry to scared about the future of this country. They realize what is going on in this country is not working. We have a congressman who is not serious about reducing government.”

The former state lawmaker, who is self-employed and runs a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called Citizens Alliance for Life and Liberty, said the key issues this year are jobs, the economy and the nation’s mounting debt. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

Those repeated runs for public office give Michigan voters a reason to reject the challenger, Upton spokesman Joe Wicks said: “Voters are getting tired of his perennial candidacy.”

Mr. Wicks said Mr. Upton’s record is proof of the congressman’s conservative credentials.

Fred is leading the charge to repeal Obamacare, expand American energy production, cut trillions in spending and hold the Obama administration … accountable for their job-destroying regulations. On the other hand, Jack Hoogendyk voted for [Michigan Democratic] Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s billion-dollar stimulus, higher property taxes, higher gas taxes and subsidies for Hollywood fat cats.

Fred has received 100 percent ratings from the U.S. Chamber [of Commerce], National Right to Life, and National Rifle Association this Congress, and is endorsed by the Family Research Council PAC headed by Tony Perkins,” he said.