Campaign 2010

Oct 15, 2008

The Daily Tribune - Peters’ campaign claims lead

CLAWSON With only three weeks to go before Election Day, U.S. Congressional candidate Gary Peters rallied his troops and supporters to keep pushing for change in November at a Tuesday rally.

Peters, a former Democratic state senator and lottery commissioner, is running for the U.S. Congressional seat for the Ninth District, now held by Joe Knollenberg of Bloomfield Township. The Ninth District includes a large portion of Oakland County, including Clawson, Royal Oak, Troy and Berkley.

The rally was held at Peters' field office on Main Street in Clawson.

Peters was joined by Chris Van Hollen, Democratic congressional campaign committee chairman, who called Peters' campaign field office one of the strongest in the country in terms of the number of people his volunteers have reached. Since June 1, Peters' supporters have knocked on more than 115,000 doors, targeting undecided independent voters specifically, Peters said.

"Three weeks from now, we're going to make sure Gary Peters is the next person in Congress and that Barack Obama is the next president. This race is going to go right down to the wire," Van Hollen said.

Peters said he's pleased recent polls have shown him leading Knollenberg, whose ads have gotten increasingly negative against Peters, his backers say. Peters' Web site points to results of a Grove-Insight survey of 400 Michigan voters indicating he is leading Knollenberg by a margin of 46-37 percent.

"As we go door to door, the issue is the economy," Peters said. "Whatever has been done in the past isn't working. People are fed up with where we are."

He added that people also are worried about health care.

"They know the cost of health care is on the rise," he said. "It's obviously closely tied to the economy."

Peters and Van Hollen during the rally often cited Knollenberg's propensity to toe the

George W. Bush line, voting the same as him more than 90 percent of the time.

Peters said should Obama be elected into office, Democrats would have more influence in the U.S. House. Peters wants to be there in Washington to create change, he said.

According to his campaign literature, Peters wants to cut taxes for the middle class; provide affordable health care; keep and create good-paying jobs; and end the Iraq war to refocus efforts on al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

"What's at stake is the American middle class," Peters said. "We are hurting very much."

Supporters of Peters shared their stories during the rally, including Troy resident Judith Steele, 51, who lost her job as a paralegal five months ago. Steele is pessimistic about the prospects of finding a new job in her chosen profession and making the salary she is used to.

"There are no jobs in my field," she said. "I have two college degrees. What do I do? I can't tap dance. I hope (Gary) can help me."

Carl Jasina, a 23-year Clawson resident, said he had to take a part-time job at Beaumont Hospital because of a work injury and currently has no health insurance. He says he'll vote for Peters in November.

"I like his charisma. He's very outspoken," Jasina said. "I think his qualifications will put a damper on Knollenberg."