Gary Peters announces Michigan Senate campaign

Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) officially announced his Senate candidacy Wednesday, pitching himself as a champion for the middle class in a note to supporters.

"Today -- I am officially announcing that I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2014," Peters wrote. He called the present time a "critical moment" for Michigan.

"I’ve always believed that the things middle class families struggle with around their kitchen tables should define my work in Washington," Peters continued. "That’s why I led the fight to increase lending to small businesses, make sure women receive equal pay for equal work, and held Wall Street accountable when they took their taxpayer-funded bailouts and paid themselves bonuses."

Peters's announcement has been widely expected this week. His decision gives Democrats a top recruit for retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin's seat.

The congressman isn't expected to face any serious competition for his party's nomination. Debbie Dingell, the other high-profile Democrat who had been mentioned as a possible candidate, recently announced she would not run, clearing the way for Peters to have an unobstructed path the nomination.

First elected to Congress in 2008, Peters served as lottery commissioner and a state legislator before heading to Washington. He represents a suburban Detroit district.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak used Peters's announcement to praise the state's Republican governor and legislature.

“In his announcement, Rep. Peters admits ‘Washington is a mess’ and Michigan is on the verge of re-invention with ‘a middle class that’s stronger than ever.’ I appreciate Rep. Peters recognizing that under the leadership of Gov. Snyder and the Republican-led legislature Michigan is the comeback state," said Schostak.

The Republican field has yet to take shape. Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is considering a bid. So is libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash, who has clashed with House GOP leadership.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R), Rep. Candice Miller (R), former attorney general Mike Cox (R) and 2012 GOP Senate candidate Clark Durant have ruled themselves out. So have former state party chairwoman Betsy DeVos and her husband, former GOP gubernatorial nominee Dick DeVos.

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Caitlin Dewey | May 1, 2013