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Tim Kiska: Following Money In The 14th Congressional District

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By Tim Kiska

In the only Michigan congressional race this year that features two incumbent congressmen running against each other, Congressman Gary Peters is outpacing Congressman Hansen Clarke by a two-to-one margin.

Peters, a two-term incumbent, has raised more than $1.2 million last year, according to campaign finance figures released this week by the Federal Election Commission. He has about $1 million in the bank to get him through the August primary.

By way of comparison, first-term Congressman Hansen Clarke raised $451,228 last year, and has $500,212 cash on hand.

Clarke is hoping for a replay of 2010, when he upset incumbent Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.

But there was a key difference that year: Clarke matched Kilpatrick in the money-raising department in 2010. Kilpatrick raised $645,241, while Clarke took in $534,548. And Clarke had a voter rebellion against the Kilpatrick clan to help him through.

One can read two things into the this year’s numbers:  Clarke has a lot of ground to make up if he’s to make the August primary competitive; and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, a new entry in the race, begins with an overwhelming deficit.

Given the weird geography of the district, money could make a big difference.

The 14th includes the Grosse Pointes, winds its way along Eight Mile Road, and then hooks north up to Pontiac. This political potpourri includes Royal Oak Township, Oak Park, Lathrup Village, Southfield, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake Village, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Hamtramck and Pontiac.

Roll Call, the Washington-based publication, calls it “creative map-making.”

Others, less charitably, are calling it a Republican plot to make trouble for Democrats.

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