U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat from Bloomfield Township, has been considered a heavy favorite to win the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Carl Levin. But his Republican foe, former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is leading in three consecutive polls since last month.
The most recent is the respected Rasmussen Reports poll, which shows Land leading by 2 percentage points, 37 to 35 percent.
The Harper Poll showed her with a 44 to 36 percent lead on Jan. 13 and Public Policy Polling gave her a 42-40 lead last month.
Referring to the Harper Poll, RedState’s Moe Lane said “it’s early, it’s one of a bunch of possible outcomes, it’s a Republican pollster (Harper), and so forth. But this is still pretty good news for Republican candidate Terri Lynn Land. And the Republican party in Michigan, because Harper also checked the generic race.”
While that showed Democrats leading by 1 percentage point, Land’s favorable-unfavorable rating was 32-18 percent with Peters at 18-18.
It would be foolish to underestimate Peters. Not only is he a brilliant campaigner, but Republicans crossed over in sizeable number to elect him to Congress from an Oakland County district in 2008 and re-elect him in 2010. He was forced to run in a much more liberal district in 2012 due to redistricting, and his pronouncements since then have taken on a more partisan cast.
Peters is well informed on financial and budget-related issues and is Michigan’s former lottery commissioner. He ran for statewide office in 2002, losing to Mike Cox in the race for attorney general. A decorated Navy veteran, he served in the Persian Gulf War.
Land was not the first choice of Michigan’s GOP party professionals. That designation went to U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, who decided to instead seek re-election.
Her prowess as a campaigner in a contest like this one is untested, and while she is raising substantial amount of money for the campaign, she has been slow on the draw in terms of setting up the apparatus of a campaign.
The point is, a race thought to lean Democratic may actually turn out to be competitive.