United States Senate elections in Michigan, 2014

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U.S. Senate, Michigan General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngGary Peters 54.6% 1,704,936
     Republican Terri Lynn Land 41.3% 1,290,199
     Libertarian Jim Fulner 2% 62,897
     Green Richard Matkin 0.8% 26,137
     U.S. Taxpayers Party Chris Wahmhoff 1.2% 37,529
Total Votes 3,121,698
Source: Michigan Secretary of State


2014 U.S. Senate Elections in Michigan

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
August 5, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Gary Peters Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Carl Levin Democratic Party
Carl Levin.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Toss Up[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Likely D[2]

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2014 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Michigan.png
Voters in Michigan elected Gary Peters (D) to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 4, 2014.

Rep. Gary Peters (D) defeated challengers Terri Lynn Land (R), Jim Fulner (L), Richard Matkin (G) and Chris Wahmhoff (UST) in the general election.

The previous incumbent was Carl Levin (D), who served in his position starting in 1979. With Levin's retirement, many predicted the Michigan U.S. Senate race to be one of the more competitive races in 2014. Cook Political Report rated the general election contest between Peters and Land as a "Toss Up" as of July 18, 2014. Sabato's Crystal Ball, meanwhile, called it a "Likely D," giving the advantage to the Democrats.

As the election grew closer, it became increasingly obvious that Rep. Peters was pulling ahead of former Michigan Secretary of State, Land. Despite the media hype surrounding the race, Peters led Land in the September polls. Furthermore, Land's reluctance to debate Peters or interact with the press, coupled with several missteps on the campaign trail, led many people, including fellow Republicans, to criticize her tactics.[3]

Yet another blow to Land's campaign came in early October 2014, when the National Republican Senatorial Committee decided to pull a portion of its advertisements from the state. One million dollars worth of airtime was removed for the dates between October 21 to October 28. The decision came as a setback to Land's campaign, which was consistently trailing in the polls against Peters.[4]

Both candidates were on even ground when comparing their campaign coffers. The April Quarterly reported that Peters maintained around $3,450,000 cash-on-hand, while Land had around $4,350,000. Expenditures were similar across the board, as both candidates expended large sums of money on their campaigns leading up to the election.

Peters received strong support from prominent Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton, who assisted in his campaign. He also received endorsements from key figures, such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Deviating from campaign strategies employed by other Democrats locked in tight Senate races, Peters campaigned with President Obama instead of attempting to distance himself from the embattled commander in chief.[5]

Neither candidate faced opposition in their primaries. Libertarian Party candidate Jim Fulner, independent Richard Matkin and Green Party candidate Chris Wahmhoff also ran in the general election.

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
April 22, 2014
August 5, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Michigan is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[6][7][8]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters must have registered by June 7, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 6, 2014.[9]

See also: Michigan elections, 2014

Incumbent: The election filled the open Senate seat previously held by Carl Levin (D). Levin was first elected in 1978. On March 7, 2013, Levin announced that he would retire rather than seek re-election in 2014.[10]


General election candidates

August 5, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Declined to run

General election results

The state of Michigan held an election for the U.S. Senate on November 4, 2014. Gary Peters (D) defeated challengers Terri Lynn Land (R), Jim Fulner (L), Richard Matkin (G) and Chris Wahmhoff (UST) in the general election.

U.S. Senate, Michigan General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngGary Peters 54.6% 1,704,936
     Republican Terri Lynn Land 41.3% 1,290,199
     Libertarian Jim Fulner 2% 62,897
     Green Richard Matkin 0.8% 26,137
     U.S. Taxpayers Party Chris Wahmhoff 1.2% 37,529
Total Votes 3,121,698
Source: Michigan Secretary of State

Race background

A new Super PAC, Pure PAC, was formed to support Republican candidates and ran attack ads against Gary Peters. The ads attacked Peters for his "runaway spending" and for supporting Obamacare. The PAC spent $15,000 on the ads, which ran for three weeks.[12]


Campaign issues


Land's website listed the following issues:

Free and Fair Trade: Trade policies from Washington all too often dramatically harm our state’s economy and cost Michigan good-paying middle class jobs. I will only support trade agreements that put Michigan businesses and workers on a level playing field with other countries.

Real Health Care Reform: ObamaCare has increased health care costs. ObamaCare has caused people to lose their insurance. ObamaCare regulations and taxes have discouraged health care innovation. Small businesses are even scaling back plans to hire more workers to avoid the penalty for having more than 50 employees. Some employers have reduced employees’ hours and have been forced to drop insurance plans.

There is a better way.

Immigration: We have a crisis on our southern border. The first duty of the federal government is to protect its citizens, but it cannot do that if it does not know who is coming in and out of the country.

The broken border with Mexico has cost Michigan jobs. Those who blatantly ignore our laws should not be rewarded, while those who follow the law are forced to wait in line to enter our country – this only invites more lawlessness.

It’s time for a systematic approach: We must enforce the immigration laws that are already on the books, make the immigration system more efficient, increase high-tech visas and seal off the border to Mexico. My plan will put Michigan First by protecting our middle class jobs and helping Michigan businesses grow.[13]


Peters' website listed the following issues:

Jobs & Economy: We make things in Michigan, and Gary is proud of that tradition. Whether it’s investing in Michigan Main Street businesses, strengthening our automotive industry, expanding agricultural innovation, or promoting entrepreneurial talents, Gary will continue to lead the fight for Michigan’s economic future and a strong middle class in the U.S. Senate.

Health Care: Medicare has helped make health care affordable for thousands of Michigan seniors, and Gary is committed to ensuring it can be relied upon for generations to come. He has consistently opposed the Republican Ryan Budget Plan to privatize Medicare and end the guaranteed benefit for our seniors, and will continue to fight against any efforts to cut such a vital program.

America needs more than just a sick-care system. We need to move towards a results-driven, sustainable, health care system that puts the well-being of our families first. Gary will work in the U.S. Senate to make sure health care reform continues to move forward in a practical, common-sense way.

Military & Veterans: The son of a World War II veteran, Gary was instilled the importance and value of service. When he was 34 years old, Gary felt compelled to serve his country and joined the U.S. Navy Reserve. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Gary volunteered and served again. Trained as a sharpshooter in pistol and rifle and as a Seabee Combat Specialist, Gary eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

When our veterans file claims with the VA, they shouldn’t be subjected to staggering backlogs. Gary is working with his colleagues to reduce the backlog at the VA and get our veterans and their families the benefits they’ve earned.

All of us are indebted to the men and women that serve our nation. And Gary will continue to fight for Michigan’s service men and women, veterans, and their families.[13]

Race ratings

Washington Post top 10 races

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate election in Michigan was considered one of the top 10 Senate races of 2014. [14]


Gary Peters vs. Terri Lynn Land
Poll Gary Peters Terri Lynn LandUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports (September 17-18, 2014)
Mitchell Research (September 15, 2014)
Glengariff Group/Detroit News (September 3-5, 2014)
Mitchell Research (August 5, 2014)
Marist Polls (July 1-3, 2014)
Public Policy Polling (June 26-29, 2014)
Public Policy Polling (April 3-6, 2014)
Clarity Campaigns Lab (February 22-23, 2014)
Public Policy Polling (December 5-8, 2013)
Denno Research (November 12-14)
Inside Michigan Politics (October 29, 2013)
Public Policy Polling (October 14–15, 2013)
Mitchell Research (October 6–10, 2013)
EPIC-MRA (September 7–10, 2013)
Mitchell Research (August 26, 2013)
AVERAGES 41.53% 38.53% 19.2% +/-3.66 805.87
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


As of September 2014, 78 percent of money spent on television ads for this race had come from independent organizations. In support of Land, $8 million was spent on television ads from outside interest groups. Spending in support of Peters clocked in at $5.7 million.[15]

Miscalculations in Land's campaign

Early in the campaign, Land committed two missteps that she was unable to shake, partially because she declined to participate in many media interviews. The first gaffe occurred when Land released a campaign ad entitled "Really?" In the ad, Land said, “Congressman Gary Peters and his buddies want you to believe I’m waging a war on women. Really? Think about that for a moment.” This statement was followed by a long, awkward pause during which Land glances at her watch, drinks coffee and raises her eyebrows. Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, deemed it the "worst ad of the year." The second blunder came several weeks later. When faced with questions from the press at a Chamber of Commerce conference, Land pushed away the microphones, saying, "I can't do this" and left.[3]


Terri Lynn Land

Terri Lynn Land, "Success Story"

Terri Lynn Land, "Really?"

Terri Lynn Land, "Billionaire"

Terri Lynn Land, "Bought"

Terri Lynn Land, "War on Michigan"

Terri Lynn Land, "Stop Fighting, Start Listening"

Terri Lynn Land, "I Pledge"

Terri Lynn Land, "Cheap Talk"

Terri Lynn Land, "Roadblock"

Terri Lynn Land, "Free & Fair Trade"

Terri Lynn Land, "Playing Both Sides"

Terri Lynn Land, "Two Faced"

Terri Lynn Land, "Siphoned Off"

Terri Lynn Land, "Sides"

Terri Lynn Land, "Profiting from Pollution"

Terri Lynn Land, "Turn the Page"

Terri Lynn Land, "Turn the Page"

Terri Lynn Land, "Bad Loans"

Terri Lynn Land, "Moms Get Things Done"

Gary Peters

Gary Peters, "Protect"

Gary Peters, "Gary's Story"

Gary Peters, "Generations"

Gary Peters, "Service"

Gary Peters, "Frugal"

Gary Peters, "BAM"

Gary Peters, "For Real"

Outside Groups

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, "Months Later"

Senate Majority PAC

Senate Majority PAC, "Wash"

Senate Majority PAC, "Backwards"


AFSCME, "Family"

AFSCME People, "Dirt"

AFSCME People, "Fall"

Campaign contributions

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Gary Peters

Terri Lynn Land

Land contributed $1 million to her campaign in the third quarter, nearly half of her total contributions for the quarter.[27]

Election history


On November 6, 2012, Debbie Stabenow won re-election to the United States Senate. She defeated Pete Hoekstra (R), Scotty Boman (L), Harley Mikkelson (G), Richard Matkin (UST) and John Litle (NLP) in the general election.

U.S. Senate, Michigan General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDebbie Stabenow Incumbent 58.8% 2,735,826
     Republican Pete Hoekstra 38% 1,767,386
     Libertarian Scotty Boman 1.8% 84,480
     Green Harley Mikkelson 0.6% 27,890
     UST Richard Matkin 0.6% 26,038
     NLP John Litle 0.2% 11,229
Total Votes 4,652,849
Source: Michigan Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


On November 4, 2008, Carl Levin won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Jack Hoogendyk, Jr. (R), Scotty Boman (L), Harley G. Mikkelson (G), Michael N. Nikitin (U.S. Taxpayers Party) and Doug Dern (Natural Law) in the general election.[28]

U.S. Senate, Michigan General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCarl Levin incumbent 62.7% 3,038,386
     Republican Jack Hoogendyk, Jr. 33.8% 1,641,070
     Libertarian Scotty Boman 1.6% 76,347
     Green Harley G. Mikkelson 0.9% 43,440
     U.S. Taxpayers Party Michael N. Nikitin 0.6% 30,827
     Natural Law Doug Dern 0.4% 18,550
Total Votes 4,848,620

See also

External links


  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 SENATE RACE RATINGS FOR JULY 18, 2014," accessed July 24, 2014
  2. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 Senate Races," accessed July 24, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Atlantic, "Did Republicans Blow the Michigan Senate Race?" October 14, 2014
  4. Detroit Free Press, "GOP cancels spending on TV ads for Terri Lynn Land," October 7, 2014
  5. USA Today, "Obama stumps for Democratic Senate candidate," November 2, 2014
  6. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  7. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  8. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  9. Michigan Department of State Website, "Registering to Vote: Step 2," accessed January 3, 2014
  10. Carl Levin, U.S. Senator from Michigan, "Newsroom: Sen. Carl Levin announces he will not seek re-election in 2014," March 7, 2013
  11. Washington Post "Dave Camp might run for Senate in Michigan," accessed July 15, 2013
  12. Detroit Free Press, "Super PAC commercial targets U.S. Rep. Peters, parodies Pure Michigan ads," September 18, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  14. The Washington Post, "The Fix’s top 10 Senate races of 2014," accessed December 10, 2013
  15. Michigan Live, "Michigan Delegation: 78% of U.S. Senate TV ads bought by outside organizations," September 7, 2014
  16. Federal Election Commission, "Gary Peters April Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
  17. Federal Election Commission, "Gary Peters July Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
  18. Federal Election Commission, "Gary Peters October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  19. Federal Election Commission, "Gary Peters Year-End," accessed February 10, 2014
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Gary Peters April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  21. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 15, 2014
  22. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  23. Federal Election Commission, "Terri Lynn Land October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Terri Lynn Land Year-End." accessed April 29, 2014
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Terri Lynn Land April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  26. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 15, 2014
  27. Roll Call, "Two Senate Candidates Put Up $1 Million or More for 2014," October 28, 2013
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013