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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land has chosen an adviser to negotiate at least one televised debate with Democratic Congressman Gary Peters in a race that may help determine whether Democrats maintain control of the chamber.

The former two-time secretary of state said Lansing attorney Richard McLellan, one-time confidante of GOP former Gov. John Engler, will work with Peters’ campaign and WXYZ-TV in Southfield to set up a debate. But the campaign of Land, who is from the Grand Rapids area, indicated an interest in “possibly” identifying a West Michigan journalist to co-moderate the debate.

Peters has not made a similar request on a debate moderator, but has accepted invitations to at least four debates.

McLellan will meet with WXYZ’s Chuck Stokes and the Peters campaign “at the earliest convenience for all parties,” the Land camp said in a statement issued early Wednesday.

“Terri is ready to hold Peters accountable for his hypocrisy on everything from immigration and Wall Street to pet coke and the war on women,” Swift said. “Gary Peters wanted this debate — let’s have it.”

Peters’ camp, which this summer picked former Lt. Gov. John Cherry from the Granholm administration as its debate negotiator, has hammered Land for failing to appoint a negotiator prior to this and avoiding debate talks with the Nov. 4 election about 50 days away.

At a recent event, Peters debated an empty chair with Land’s name on it. The Bloomfield Township Democrat said this week Land’s failure to debate has many observers thinking she is afraid and has contended Land instead has hidden behind TV ads.

Nearly $19 million was spent on the Senate race through Labor Day, and experts have said the number of ads in September is similar to the volume viewers would normally experience in October during heavy campaign season.

The battle is over the seat of longtime U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, the Detroit Democrat who is retiring at year’s end.

Most polls have shown Land trailing Peters in the U.S. Senate race.

A recent statewide survey of 600 likely voters conducted for The Detroit News and WDIV-TV found Peters holding a 10.5 percentage point lead over Land — 47 percent to Land’s 36.5 percent. In a May poll, Peters held a 4-point lead.

The poll with a margin of error of plus-minus 4 percentage points was conducted Sept. 3-5 as outside groups launched multimillion-dollar rounds of ads attacking both candidates.

gheinlein@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3660

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