July 31, 2014 at 1:00 am

Political insider: Detroit's Duggan exerts influence outside city with endorsements

Duggan (Charles V. Tines, The Detroit News)

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is becoming more aggressive in trying to expand his political influence.

Besides endorsing in selected state House races involving Detroit’s delegation, the first-term mayor and former Wayne County deputy executive endorsed Wednesday state Rep. Rudy Hobbs of Southfield for the Democratic nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, in the 14th Congressional District.

Other Democratic candidates in the race for the area including Detroit and parts of Oakland County include Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence and former Congressman Hansen Clarke of Detroit.

But Duggan also has endorsed outside Detroit, which raised Republican eyebrows during the debate leading up to the GOP-dominated Legislature’s approval of $195 million in state aid to help reduce pension cuts and protect Detroit Institute of Arts masterpieces in Detroit’s bankruptcy case.

In particular, he endorsed Democrat Ryan Fishman of Birmingham in the GOP-leaning state Senate District 13 race — a move that Inside Michigan Politics Associate Editor Bill Ballenger called dangerous.

Call for a conservative

MSNBC.com published a profile this week of Michigan’s U.S. Senate showdown between Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land.

Mixed in the analysis was a quote from a Land campaign volunteer that caught the Insider’s eye.

“We need a conservative senator in Congress,” John Tedesco of Royal Oak told an MSNBC reporter. “It feels like it’s been 186 years since we had one here.”

While it may feel like a lifetime since the Great Lakes State had a conservative senator (apologies to Spence Abraham — 1995-2000), Michigan didn’t have a U.S. senator 186 years ago in 1828.

Michigan did not enter the union until 1837, when land surveyor Lucius Lyon became the state’s first representative in the U.S. Senate with voting privileges, according to historical records on file at the University of Michigan.

And Lyon was a Democrat, though affiliated with the conservative temperance movement.

A tale of different polls

Michigan’s U.S. Senate race has gone through shifting tides about whether the Republican or Democratic candidate has the edge, something that was made even more evident this week.

In MSNBC’s story about how Democrats find the lead by U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, in several recent polls a rare bright spot nationwide in this year’s election when Republicans are trying to wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats.

But Republicans took heart this weekend when the CBS News/New York Times Battleground Tracker poll of 3,849 Michigan voters found former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, a Grand Rapids area Republican, with a narrow 48 percent-47 percent lead over Peters — within the margin of error of plus-minus 2.8 percentage points. This online poll is different from CBS’ normal poll.

Contributors: Darren A. Nichols, Chad Livengood, Richard Burr