Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 23, 2014

George Weeks: Ad war, ground war in U.S. Senate race

Michigan’s race between former two-term Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land of Kent County and third-term Congressman Gary Peters, D-Oakland County, is one of the nation’s most high-profile U. S. Senate battles. There is increased focus on the expensive third party ad war about who will succeed retiring Sen. Carl Levin.

Americans for Prosperity, a high-powered conservative group, has spent more that $1 million zapping Peters — the latest ad featuring a cancer patient Michigan woman who criticized him for supporting Obamacare.

The Washington Post Fact-Checker column cast doubt on her implication that Peters’ vote threatens her life. Peters is among a half dozen or so targeted Democrats whose races are getting national media attention.

(I said at the outset that the ad war is “about” candidates who will replace Levin, rather than between them, because the forces supporting Peters have yet to equally weigh in and the candidates themselves have yet to battle on the airwaves.)

My focus here is not on the ad war. It’s on the low-profile but always important ground war, following Peters’ extensive swing last week across the Upper Peninsula, with some time below the bridge. Land made some U.P. and other northern stops last year, and contemplates more soon.

While Land is leading in funding and some polls, Peters, reached by phone on the campaign trail, said, “we are keeping pace,” getting contributions from more than 11,000 people from all 83 counties.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Peters said in the Soo Evening News: “We’re traveling across the U.P., listening to people. We started in Escanaba and have talked to a range of folks. Small business people, and those downtown, are the heart and soul of a community. We want to hear about their problems and what we can do to help.”

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