Peters Beats Clarke in Michigan 14th District Dem Primary
Correction: The email alert and original versions of this story misstated the number of non-black members representing majority-black districts. There will likely be two in the next Congress.
Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Hansen Clarke in a member-versus-member primary in Michigan's 14th Congressional District Tuesday night. After winning the Democratic primary in the safe, Detroit-based seat, Peters -- who is white -- will likely be one of just two non-black House member to represent a majority-black district in the next Congress (Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen in Tennessee currently represents one).
With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Peters led Clarke 47 percent to 35 percent. Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence was in third with 13 percent, and another two Democratic candidates divided the remainder. The Associated Press called the race for Peters.
Peters started the race at a structural disadvantage: His old district was carved up when Michigan lost a congressional seat in redistricting, and fewer than 28 percent of the 14th District's residents had lived in Peters's previous constituency. Clarke, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, brought almost 40 percent of the residents from his old district, and being based in downtown Detroit, he was better situated to appeal to the larger portion of the district living there.
But Peters put together a coalition of business and union endorsers and reached out beyond his Oakland County base via the area's black churches. Virtually every member who defeated another in a primary this cycle has done so by consolidating their home turf and boosting turnout there while cutting into their opponent's margins on the other side of the district.