Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

June 2, 2013

George Weeks: Smooth primary sailing for Peters, Schauer

On occasion, Democrats have had spirited U.S. Senate and gubernatorial primaries for open seats and those held by Republicans. Not this time around.

U.S. Rep. Peters of Oakland County — who campaigned last week in Traverse City, Alpena, Cheboygan and Mackinac Island — has smooth sailing to 2014 nomination for the seat being vacated by Sen. Carl Levin. Levin and Sen. Debbie Stabenow have endorsed Peters, and the state party headquarters is among his cheerleaders.

Ex-U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer of Battle Creek also has essentially been anointed by the party establishment in his bid for the nomination for likely challenge of GOP Gov. Rick Snyder. He made a bit of a splash in press coverage of last week’s Detroit Chamber’s annual Mackinac Island Policy Conference. (“How Schauer plans to make a race of it,” headlined the Detroit Free Press.)

Over the years, Democratic congressmen have done well in Michigan’s contested statewide primaries. In 1982, seeking the party nomination to replace retiring Gov. William G. Milliken, Rep. James J. Blanchard bested six primary contestants, including some prominent ones, and then won the office.

In 1976, Rep. Don Riegle defeated three primary opponents, including veteran Secretary of State Richard Austin, to win the Democratic Senate nomination and then the office.

Peters on tour

Peters, the first 2014 Senate candidate to hit northern trails, used the occasion last week to tout Great Lakes issues, helping “middle class families,” and a number of ideas on jobs and the economy, especially giving “small business the tools” to compete.

In a phone chat about these issues after his first stop, the former state senator and lottery director said he was impressed by “the strength of downtown in Traverse City.”

In these days of extreme divisiveness on Capitol Hill, I have on occasion noted Michigan lawmakers who reach across aisles. For example: Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, who works with Democrat Stabenow on Great Lakes issues and with Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, on the current IRS scandal.

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