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Politics & Government

Gary Peters elected to the U.S. Senate

Michigan Senator Gary Peters.
U.S. Representative Gary Peters
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Gary Peters will represent Michigan in the U.S. Senate. The Associated Press has called the race with 9% of the precincts reporting.

Peters is a three-term congressman who had good name recognition. His opponent, Terri Lynn Land, Michigan's former Secretary of State, was also a recognized political figure across the state, but her campaign foundered as Peters took a lead in the polls in the spring.

Peters succeeds retiring U.S. Senator Carl Levin, one of the longest-serving members of the Senate, and chairman of the influential Armed Services Committee. 

The win Tuesday for Peters prevented Republicans from capturing their first Senate seat in Michigan in two decades. Republicans had hoped Michigan could be part of their effort to take control of the U.S. Senate.

"Tonight’s loss in Michigan’s U.S. Senate race is a disappointing reality for everyone who wanted to see this open seat turn red," Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak said in a statement. "Michigan families are tired of Harry Reid’s liberal, do-nothing Senate, and Terri Lynn Land would have made a great Senator to fix the mess in Washington.

The race spurred heavy out-of-state contributions - for which each side criticized the other.

Peters has said his top issue is the economy, including guaranteeing "access to affordable, quality health care" and the ability to "retire with dignity" with Social Security and Medicare.

More from MLive:

The U.S. Senate race was expected to be more competitive when long-term incumbent Carl Levin announced he was not seeking a seventh term in early 2013. Republicans saw it as their chance to win a senate seat for the first time in 14 years. Speculation followed over who would run for the seat, but Peters was the only Democrat to announce and Land the only Republican. Several top members of the Michigan GOP, including U.S. Reps Dave Camp, Mike Rogers and Justin Amash all passed on bids to run for the seat.