Inside and outside of Oakland

Money gap narrows in Peters, Raczkowski race

  Is Rocky Raczkowski’s financial gas tank running on empty?
  Raczkowski, the Republican challenger to first-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, has scheduled a fundraisers leading up to the Nov. 2 election.

  Campaign finance statements filed with the Federal Election Commission through the end of September showed Peters with a 2-1 edge in cash on hand for the final month of the campaign.
  Peters has spent $2,129,479 in the campaign to keep his seat and showed $805,093 in cash on hand.
  Raczkowski, meanwhile, has spent $1,162,735 and showed $383,564 on hand going into the final month.
  The election in the 9th Congressional District has moved from “leans Democrat” to the “toss up” category as the campaigning nears its end.
  “It’s a lot better than when we first started, when it was a 13-1 advantage for Peters,” Raczkowski said Tuesday of Peters’ financial advantage. “He and his little friends from Washington have spent $1.5 million trying to confuse and lie to the electorate about my integrity and the type of person I am, and it hasn’t worked. It hasn’t budged people.
  “I feel comfortable doing what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and I feel comfortable that people in Oakland County know what’s right and what’s wrong and will support us for the right reasons.”
  Raczkowski, 41, of Farmington Hills, is attempting to do this year what Peters, 51, accomplished in 2008 — defeat a sitting incumbent.
  Peters in 2008 defeated Republican Joe Knollenberg, fueled by anti-Republican sentiment and the Barack Obama tsunami, setting up a rematch this election cycle.
  Raczkowski’s campaign, in turn, is partly fueled by anti-incumbent sentiment from a struggling economy and support from conservative tea party groups.
  Raczkowski has attacked Peters on his congressional voting record, accusing him of voting with the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 95 percent of the time.
  Raczkowski held a $125 per person fundraiser Monday in Rochester and a $50 donation event Tuesday in Royal Oak.
  Other scheduled fundraisers include:
  •   A $75 per-person event, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Audette Cadillac, 7100 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield Township.
  • A $75 per-person event from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28 at The 929 Gallery, 929 S. Eton Street in Birmingham.
  • A $20 per-person or $50 per-family “Rock-toberfest” event 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the American Polish Cultural Center, 2975 E. Maple Road in Troy.
  Direct spending by the campaigns is only part of the resources going into the race.
  The conservative Americans for Limited Government, for example, in a statement Tuesday pressed Peters and other Michigan Democrats in Congress to reject spending bills planned for the calendar in the lame duck congressional schedule following the election.
  Meanwhile, the Humane Society Legislative Fund announced Tuesday it would air a $120,000 television ad supporting Peters’ re-election.
  The 30-second ad highlights Peters’ record on animal protection issues.
  Peters also is scheduled to appear at the Pontiac Regional Chamber Thursday for a discussion on education and economic development.
  The event is 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Lafayette Grande, 1 Lafayette in downtown Pontiac.
  Also appearing there will be Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Brenda Lawrence, state Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski, Pontiac City Council President Lee Jones, Pontiac School Board President Carol Turpin and Pontiac Promise Zone’s Jeff Love.
  Peters spokesman Dan Farough implied the campaign would spend whatever it takes between now and Election Day.
  “We are going to turn over every stone to communicate to voters about the choice of this election between Rocky Raczkowski, who’s facing fraud, theft and conspiracy charges in federal court, and Gary Peters, who is focused on the issues like small businesses and middle class families.”
  The Peters campaign has made a recurring issue of a lawsuit against Raczkowski and a ticket company he formerly ran.
  The 9th District is one of four in Michigan where Republicans hope to make gains in advance of new district boundaries to be drawn next year because of the new census. Michigan stands to lose at least one of its 15 seats in the process.
  The 9th is entirely within Oakland County and represents Pontiac, Lake Angelus, Auburn Hills, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, and the townships of Bloomfield, Southfield, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Oakland and part of Orion.
  Other Michigan congressional seats on the Republican radar are districts 1, 7 and 15.
  District 1 represents the Upper Peninsula and most of the northern Lower Peninsula. Republican Dan Benishek and Democrat Gary McDowell seek to replace retiring Democrat U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak.
  District 7 is a rematch between former Republican congressman Tim Walberg and first-term Democrat U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer. The district represents Eaton, Jackson, Branch, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties plus parts of Calhoun and Washtenaw counties.
  In District 15, Republican Rob Steele is making a bid to unseat longtime Democrat U.S. Rep. John Dingell. Dingell has held the seat since 1955. The district represents Monroe County and parts of Wayne and Washtenaw counties.
  Democrats currently hold eight Michigan congressional seats and Republicans hold seven.
  Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, charlie.crumm@oakpress.com or follow him on Twitter @crummc.

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