New Poll Shows New Face Leading Race to Replace Gary Peters

Former House members usually have the inside track in primaries, but a new poll from a group supporting a state rep puts Hansen Clarke behind in his comeback attempt.

Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Mich.
National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
July 31, 2014, 4:12 p.m.

A new poll shows an up­heav­al in the race to re­place Rep. Gary Peters in the House, with a former con­gress­man and an EMILY’s List-backed can­did­ate run­ning be­hind a pop­u­lar state le­gis­lat­or in the Demo­crat­ic primary.

State Rep. Rudy Hobbs leads by 14 points over former Rep. Hansen Clarke and South­field May­or Brenda Lawrence in a Mitchell Re­search and Com­mu­nic­a­tions poll con­duc­ted for Rep. Sander Lev­in’s GOAL PAC, which is sup­port­ing Hobbs. The poll sur­veyed 487 Demo­crat­ic voters from Ju­ly 28-30 in Peters’s dis­trict, which is open be­cause Peters is run­ning for the Sen­ate.

Hobbs re­ceived 40 per­cent of the vote in the sur­vey, while Lawrence re­ceived 26 per­cent, Clarke re­ceived 22 per­cent, and 11 per­cent said they were un­de­cided.

The res­ults de­vi­ate sharply from a mid-Ju­ly EPIC-MRA poll con­duc­ted for the De­troit Free Press show­ing Clarke with an 11-point lead. Hobbs was in third place with only 20 per­cent of the vote in that poll.

Soon after that poll, Hobbs re­leased two 15-second TV ads, one fo­cus­ing on edu­ca­tion and an­oth­er vow­ing to “stand up to the NRA.”

Hobbs has raised and spent more money than any oth­er can­did­ates in the race, and at­trac­ted sev­er­al ma­jor en­dorse­ments, in­clud­ing the Free Press, the De­troit News, De­troit May­or Mike Dug­gan, Lev­in, and Lev­in’s broth­er, re­tir­ing Sen. Carl Lev­in. Former rep­res­ent­at­ives of­ten have the in­side primary track if they de­cide to at­tempt a comeback, but at least one oth­er has also lost a primary this year. Former Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Quico Can­seco’s comeback at­tempt ended in the Texas primar­ies in the spring.

GOAL PAC has spent more than $220,000 back­ing Hobbs, while an EMILY’s List af­fil­i­ate has spent more than $250,000 back­ing Lawrence, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spons­ive Polit­ics. Clarke held the seat un­til he lost it to Peters in 2012, after re­dis­trict­ing com­bined their seats, match­ing Clarke and Peters in the same primary. The dis­trict cov­ers De­troit’s wa­ter­front and curves through some of the city’s sub­urbs, in­clud­ing South­field and Farm­ing­ton.

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