When U.S. Sen. Carl Levin announced in early 2013 that he wouldn’t run for a seventh term this year, it was immediately apparent to anyone who follows politics in Michigan that Gary Peters was the Democrat most likely to succeed him.
Wonkish and bespectacled, Peters, 55, is a congressman from Bloomfield Township in Detroit’s wealthy northern suburbs. He has been on an impressive string of political victories since wresting a Republican-controlled district from Rep. Joe Knollenberg in 2008.
In 2010, he barely beat back the Republican wave to keep his seat. Then, in 2012, after Republicans tried to force him out by placing him in a district with a senior Democrat, Peters instead stepped into a neighboring district in Detroit proper, winning easily. He became the first white to represent the city in Congress in decades.
This year, he turned back a challenge from former Michigan secretary of State Terri Lynn Land in what was the most expensive U.S. Senate race in state history.
He hasn’t always won: A former financial adviser, city councilman and state senator, Peters’ first run for statewide office came in 2002, when he lost a race for state attorney general by 5,200 votes out of some 3 million cast. Later, he would serve as Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s lottery commissioner.
Throughout his political career, Peters has counted on support from traditional Democratic sources – especially unions. But he has also worked to forge an independent identity in Congress, co-sponsoring bills with Republicans, including one that would crack down on duplicative spending in the federal government, and breaking with his party on some key votes.
“In the Senate,” he said, “I will continue to focus on working with members of both parties to overcome gridlock and identify practical solutions.”
— Todd Spangler
From USA Today – http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2014/11/05/new-senators-2014-elections/17781205/