Friday, October 17, 2008

Peters and Knollenberg face off in forum

Click here to watch the stream from WXYZ. It really wasn't a debate. There was no back and forth between Gary Peters and Joe Knollenberg. At least Knollenberg had the courtesy to show up this time. The house was packed with about 300 people. Knollenberg seems to be proud of his ties to the Bush adminstration and their ruinous policies. The candidates were asked about campaign financing by Nolan Finley of the Detroit News. Knollenberg had the nerve to actually accuse Peters of accepting big money from PACs. I guess he missed the irony of his support from Big Pharma, the National Association of Realtors, the insurance and financial industry, and others. I would have liked more of a chance for Peters and Knollenberg to address each other and for that reason I didn't like the format.

One thing is for sure, there is a clear difference between Peters and Knollenberg.

Taxes, spending and the war in Iraq dominated a tame debate between four of the five candidates running for Oakland County’s 9th Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Township, told about 250 people that he’s consistently delivered for Oakland County residents and would continue to “fight with all my might” if he’s returned to Congress.

Gary Peters, former state Senator and Lottery Commissioner, said the current economic crisis proves that Washington is broken and is in desperate need of change.

“Whatever has happened in the past is not working now,” Peters said. “We do need to change how things are done in Washington.”

Meanwhile, Green Party candidate Douglas Campbell had one of the best lines of the night when he urged that when voters watch the increasingly negative ads that Knollenberg and Peters are running against each other, that they “contemplate the possibility that they’re both right.”

The sharpest differences were on taxes.

Knollenberg said that raising them would be the worst possible thing to do at anytime, but especially in the current economic climate.

Peters said that he thinks tax cuts should be concentrated on the middle class and that tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas should be eliminated.

“If you look at the Bush tax cuts, they favor the people at the very top. If we do need to generate some revenue, that would be where I would look,” he said.

The ninth congressional district, which covers a wide swath of Oakland County from Farmington Hills through Oakland Township, has become a much more competitive district recently. Click here for the rest of the story.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NRCC Pulls $320 K In Ads from 9th Congressional District

@ 12:47 pm by Hill Staff

The National Republican Congressional Committe (NRCC) has canceled nearly $320,000 in planned ad buys in favor of Rep. Joe Knollenberg's (R) reelection efforts in Michigan's 9th congressional district.

According to numbers obtained by The Hill, the NRCC has canceled its buys in the next two weeks, while preserving an expenditure in the last week of the campaign.

The NRCC canceled one buy from October 14-20 for $150,000, and another October 21-27 for almost $170,000. The preserved expenditure, to run from October 28-November 4, amounts to almost $314,000–just slightly less than the sum the NRCC had planned to spend in the race in the preceding weeks.

The NRCC has been strapped for cash during this election cycle, with financial constraints forcing it to only begin spending on behalf of its candidates as of late. Lackluster fundraising and an embezzlement scandal from the organization's treasurer left it at a disadvantage compared to its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Click here for the rest of the story.

Laura Berman: Political fear not so scary these days

Laura Berman speaks to the fact that political fear is losing its punch in this year's political campaigns. Joe Knollenberg is slipping in the polls and will suffer the same fate as John McGrumpy (McCain).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Laura Berman: Commentary

Political fear not so scary these days

Even in times when there's nothing to fear but the throb of that emotion itself, you can't factor out the political value of fear.

For several election cycles, campaigns have profited by scaring voters about the dangers of change, exploiting the insecurity of Americans in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and mounting worries about the economy.

In 2004, Americans re-elected George W. Bush, despite a hugely unpopular war, in part because the incumbent president's campaign pushed the "too scary" button so effectively.

But in Michigan, where we're increasingly haunted by mounting evidence of unpleasantness -- unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosures and a collapsing national economy -- the tried-and-true scare tactics of previous campaigns are now resonating with the effectiveness of a blow-up ghost at Halloween.

'Extreme' goes both ways

In Oakland County, incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, once indomitable, is slipping in polls to challenger Gary Peters.

In response, Knollenberg's campaign is painting Peters, a mainstream Democrat whose most recent position was lottery commissioner, as a liberal wild guy.

Knollenberg is using the boilerplate language that worked in the last election against Nancy Skinner.

"When Gary says 'change,' you better watch out. Gary Peters' plan for change is too 'extreme' and 'wrong' for Michigan's families," warned Knollenberg's campaign manager, Mike Brownfield, in a campaign piece this week.

Democrat Bruce Fealk, in an online anti-Knollenberg blog, uses the same "too extreme" language against Knollenberg.

At this point, the words are field tested and shopworn. Click here for the rest of the story.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Peters/Knollenberg Debate Thursday - Doors Open at 6 p.m.

Hopefully Joe Knollenberg will have the decency to show up this time. The debate will be at Oakland University in the Oakland Center in the Gold Room. Seating is limited, so arrive early. The debate starts at 7:30 p.m.

Where: 2200 N. Squirrel, Oakland Center Gold Room

The debate is sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Show up and show your support for Gary Peters.

Peters Moves up in Race for Congress - Go Gary!

It's looking better all the time for Gary Peters and Mark Schauer. Both Peters and Schauer have moved the needle significantly since last year and both races are now moving in the Democrats' favor. With three weeks to go we need to get out there and work to get Gary and Mark elected. Even though polls show Obama up in Michigan, we can't let down now. Let's help Gary across the finish line.
2 Dems move up in race for Congress

Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau

CLAWSON -- A closely watched handicapper of congressional races on Tuesday upgraded the odds of two Michigan Democrats to unseat Republican incumbents.

The ratings from the Rothenberg Political Report came as the head of Democratic efforts to expand the party's congressional majority was in Michigan to raise money and attention for the challengers in two of national Democrats' most sought-after seats.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, promised "maximum effort" in the campaign's last three weeks to unseat Reps. Joe Knollenberg, R-Bloomfield Hills, and Tim Walberg, R-Tipton.

Former lottery commissioner and state Sen. Gary Peters, who is challenging Knollenberg, is now a slight favorite to unseat him in Rothenberg's latest ratings. And state Sen. Mark Schauer's race against Walberg is now a tossup. Both are upgrades for Democratic chances from Rothenberg's last set of ratings. Click here for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How Bad is it for Republicans? Just ask Joe Knollenberg

This article is actually pretty funny, from the perspective that Republicans just don't seem to be able to own up to the fact that it is their economic policies that have led to the point we are at.

The Race for Michigan’s Ninth
A snapshot of GOP troubles nationwide.

By Henry Payne

Bloomfield Hills, Mich. — How bad is it for Republicans this year? Consider Michigan’s Congressional District 9 in affluent, white-collar Oakland County just north of Detroit, represented for 16 years by Republican Rep. Joe Knollenberg.

Two years ago, Knollenberg survived a tight race as Democrats nationally swept into the House of Representatives to win back the majority they’d lost in 1994. That restored 2006 Democratic majority immediately took aim at the pocketbooks of Knollenberg’s “rich” constituents. Yet, despite Democratic polices that have adversely effected the district’s auto jobs, home values, and taxes, polls blame George W. Bush — not Democrats — for these ills, and the veteran congressman is more vulnerable than ever. Click here for the rest of the article.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No-Show Joe at Debate

Joe Knollenberg says he cares about his constituents, yet he couldn't make it a priority to show up yesterday at the Birmingham Unitarian Church for a debate with Gary Peters. I think that says everything we need to know about Joe Knollenberg. Knollenberg has one more chance to debate Peters, on Thursday at Oakland University. Even though Knollenberg is behind in the polls, he doesn't think it's beneficial to debate the issues of the day with his opponent. That is the height of arrogance, to not face your opponent face to face in front of the people you represent. But I've always known Knollenberg was arrogant, by the way his staff treated constituents at his office in Farmington Hills.

Debate fizzles after no-show


Of The Oakland Press
BIRMINGHAM — In the end, it wasn’t much of a debate.
Democrat Gary Peters, who seeks to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, RBloomfield Hills, made about 20 minutes of remarks to an audience of less than 20 Sunday at the Birmingham Unitarian Church.
Then he left.
The only other candidate, the Green Party’s Doug Campbell, spoke after Peters left.
Knollenberg was a no-show. His campaign Friday said he had other commitments.
With three weeks to go until the election, Peters, 49, claims his polls show him with a lead over the eight-term incumbent in a district targeted for takeover by
the national Democratic Party.
He used his remarks Sunday to criticize Knollenberg, 75.
“I don’t know that leadership has been shown by our current representative,” Peters said.
Peters, a former state senator and state lottery commissioner, called for universal access to health care and said more needs to be done to help the ailing financial sector.
“We are in an incredibly precarious situation,” he said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to restore confidence.”
He also threw his support behind mass transit for the region. “It goes hand in hand with economic development,” Peters said.
Knollenberg represents the 9th congressional district,
which includes Oakland, Bloomfield and West Bloomfield townships; parts of Orion and Waterford township; the cities of Farmington, Farmington Hills, Orchard Lake Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Lake Angelus; and the villages of Franklin, Bingham Farms and Beverly Hills.
Also on the ballot is assistant suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian as an independent and Libertarian Adam Goodman.
The League of Women Voters will host a candidate forum at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Oakland University for the 9th district candidates.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Birmingham Eccentric - Peters targets swing votes

Challenger targets swing votes
By Larry Ruehlen • ECCENTRIC STAFF WRITER • October 12, 2008

Gary Peters faced a tough crowd Thursday.

"Politics can be very civil," he said. "This isn't personal. It is about having a different vision of where we want the country to go."
Peters was looking at Sandy Knollenberg as he made his opening remarks to the Bloomfield Hills Rotary Club.
Sandy Knollenberg's husband Joe is running against Peters for Congress.
Knollenberg's campaign manager Nate Bailey also attended. The symbolism was clear: Peters wasn't going to gain ground with staunch Republicans without a fight.
Peters told a story about a campaign worker going door to door. A man ran to the back of the house to retrieve a photo of former lottery commissioner Peters awarding him a multi-million dollar prize.
"It was a great job because I got to meet some of the happiest people ever," he said.
"A whole new twist on buying votes?" asked a Rotarian, as the small group laughed in unison.
Peters, also a former financial advisor, talked of the need for regulating banks and ending dependence on foreign oil by cultivating alternative sources of power. "Oil and coal are still more efficient," said Rotary member Alan Klein.
Before lunch, Peters conceded he was heading into a hostile environment. He spent the first hour of the day trying to sway an editorial board that habitually endorses Knollenberg.
After making nice with Rotarians, he headed back to his campaign headquarters in Clawson.
The former flower shop isn't much to look at. Posters cover particle board on a makeshift wall. The floor is messy. Papers are everywhere.
So are relatively young campaign workers.
Campaign Manager Julie Petrick seems obsessed with gaining a technological advantage over the Knollenberg crew in Bingham Farms.
"We just talked to our 200,001 voter," she said. "We've knocked on 111,000 doors. There is a lot of excitement for change out there."
Peters and his staff talk of a canvassing event on a beautiful July day as a turning point.
"We had 330 people show up," Peters said. "I was so proud. I'm excited to see what's going to happen the closer we get to election day."
Anna Valencia, 23, is in charge of the ground campaign. Getting as many people to knock on doors as possible is her job. "This is my third campaign cycle," she said. "We are focusing our efforts on persuasion. I've seen it work before and I know it is working for us."
Campaign workers ferret out undecided voters with a computer program. Then it's all about making frequent contact.
"We know who will vote for us and we go after them," Petrick said.
Campaigning in the information age is different, said Valencia, wearing the confident smile of youth. She points to all the computers, cell phones and PDAs. Every staffer is "plugged in" she says, so reaction is swift in the Peters campaign.
Peters touts a poll that says he's leading heading into the last three weeks.
Like Knollenberg, Peters typically has several personal appearances every day. His favorite are the small town hall meetings he holds in houses. A supporter asks him over for a chat and 15 to 20 people usually show up to hear what he has to say.
Peters believes his chances of winning will improve as more commercials hit the airwaves. His intense itinerary will continue until Nov. 4.
"It all depends on which one of us gets the swing voters," he said. "They will rule on election day.".