Michigan is generally considered a Democratic-leaning state, and it hasn’t elected a Republican senator since the defeat of Spencer Abraham. This year, however, the seat is considered at least somewhat competitive. The Democratic candidate, Rep. Peters, worked as a financial advisor before joining the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. He is also a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve. Terri Lynn Land, the Republican candidate, is a small business owner who served as Michigan’s Secretary of State for two terms after working as a county clerk.
Rep. Gary Peters (D) v. Terri Lynn Land (R)
Recent accusations by Land that Peters supported extending Obamacare to illegal immigrants and has flipped flopped on his immigration position have hurt Peters in polling and made immigration a key issue in the race. Peters’ support for Obamacare and left-of-center position on environmental policy are also sticking points in the campaign against him. Peters has emphasized environmental issues throughout his campaign, pointing out the piles of petcoke (a byproduct of petroleum refining that pollutes the air) left in Detroit by Koch Carbon — a company owned by the Koch brothers, who have been big financial supporters of Land’s candidacy.
Land started out ahead in the spring of 2013, but the candidate with the lead switched several times before Peters emerged as the leader in May 2014. Even with a consistent lead throughout the spring and summer, Peters has yet to pass the 50 percent hurdle.