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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.