Peters touts independence, avoids criticizing Land by name in first TV ad

David Shepardson
The Detroit News

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters is launching his first general election TV ad Tuesday, touting what he says is his independence from party leaders and avoiding criticism of his opponent by name.

Peters, a third-term U.S. House member from Bloomfield Township, has squared off with Republican rival Terri Lynn Land, a former Michigan secretary of state, over many issues in recent weeks, including how many debates the pair will take part in. Both are vying to replace retiring Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, in a race that could decide control of the Senate next year.

As in his previous ads, Peters' ad focuses on his personal story, Michigan roots and areas where he has disagreed with many in his party. The ad titled “Generations” features family photos, his mom and photos of his wife and three kids.

“Five generations in Michigan, Gary Peters: the son of a teacher and nurse’s aide, he married Colleen and raised three kids. An independent leader, breaking with his own party, stopping Congress from giving itself a pay raise, and running his office so efficiently he has return half a million dollars back to the Treasury," the ad says.

Peters campaign says it will spend more than $100,000 airing the ad.

In the ad Peters says “government needs to do more with less, stop tax giveaways to billionaires and provide real help to the families and small businesses that need to come first if we’re going to make our economy work for everyone.”

Peters campaign manager Paul Tencher said Peters is someone “who can overcome party politics to do the right thing for Michigan.”

Land's ads have sought to be more attention grabbing — featuring her staring into a camera holding a cup of coffee and young boys wrestling as a stand-in for an unruly Congress. The ad of her staring into the camera after saying “Really?” was panned by some including GOP pollster Frank Luntz.

Other Land ads have criticized Peters stance on some issues, including immigration.

Earlier this month, Land highlighted the flood of at least 57,000 children who have come across the U.S. southern border — nearly all from Central America.

“A crisis at the border, thousands of illegal immigrants flooding into America. What’s Gary Peters’ position?” the narrator says. The ad features two grainy clips from Peters — one in which he says “Certainly enforcement is very important” and that “Immigration reform is not about more enforcement.”

The Peters campaign says it is not clear what the full context of the latter quote is that was taken from a early 2013 appearance by Peters in Detroit.