Unions, Environmentalists Spend Millions to Elect Michigan Dem

AFSCME, League of Conservation Voters spending big to elect Gary Peters

Gary Peters
Gary Peters / AP

Radical environmentalists and big labor are pooling their resources to boost Michigan Democrat Rep. Gary Peter’s Senate campaign.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and public sector union giant AFSCME announced on Thursday that they will pool together $2.1 million to aid Peters in his race against former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

"We’re proud to join with AFSCME to inform Michigan voters that Rep. Gary Peters stands for public health protection and job creation," LCV Senior Vice President for Campaigns Daniel J. Weiss said in a release on the organization’s blog.

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Both groups have already spent large sums in the race. AFSCME has spent nearly $1 million on two separate attacks ads against Land, according to FEC reports. LCV is Peters’ fifth largest contributor, donating nearly $25,000 to his campaign and PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Peters has led the race for the entire summer and has outspent Land by almost $300,000 as of July, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

However, the Republican has closed the gap in recent weeks. Land trails Peters by 1 percent in the only two polls taken in August. Retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin (Mich.) won his 2008 race by 30 points and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) won nearly 60 percent of the vote in 2012.

Peters, however, has failed to capitalize on Democrats’ advantage in the state, despite heavy support from organized labor and radical environmentalist Tom Steyer, who pledged to spend $100 million on Democratic campaigns in 2014. Peters, unlike his Democratic predecessors, is running in an off-year election when liberal turnout is historically lower. Republicans were able to capture the governor’s mansion and several other statewide offices in 2010, just two years after President Obama won the state by 17 points.

AFSCME Assistant Political Director Seth Johnson said that the groups entered the partnership to magnify its influence in the race and reverse turnout trends. The multi-million dollar partnership aims to reach 1.1 million voters by Election Day with the hopes of generating 50,000 votes for Peters, according to the release.

"Through this partnership with LCV, we will ensure that voters across the state learn about Terri Lynn Land’s out-of-touch agenda and that Rep. Peters is the right choice to move Michigan forward," he said in the release.

The election will take place on Nov. 4.