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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
In 2008 Peters benefited from President Barack Obama's coattails and became the first Democrat to win the suburban Detroit district in decades.
This fall he is favored over former state Rep. Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski, who is hardly the strongest challenger Republicans could have found.
Both candidates have tried to tie their opponent to national party leadership. Peters has had to defend his votes for the new health care law, and though he has portrayed himself as a fiscal conservative, Peters made an exception for the government's auto industry bailout. The district is home to the headquarters of General Motors Co. and Chrysler.
Raczkowski got 38 percent of the vote in a race against Sen. Carl Levin in 2002 after he was term-limited out of his state House seat.
District Profile from Politics in America
Michigan's heavily suburban 9th -- the wealthiest and most educated district in the state -- is wholly contained in Oakland County, home to the U.S. headquarters for Chrysler in Auburn Hills. Life in the district long revolved around the vulnerable auto industry, but unlike other suburban Detroit areas, the 9th has a more diverse economy.
Decades of whites' exodus from the city into Oakland County traced the corridor formed between Grand River Avenue and the Northwestern Highway north of the Detroit border (8 Mile Road). The county gained residents overall in the last decade even as people left the densely populated areas near Detroit. Once-rural expanses have been settled by white-collar workers, and the district's black and Hispanic populations have boomed while tens of thousands of white residents have left.
Troy, in the 9th's southeastern corner, is a major office center and home to Michigan's banking and high-tech automotive research and design industries. Several years of auto industry slowdowns caused local job cuts and municipal budget shortfalls, but the district still hosts several manufacturing plants and auto parts suppliers. North of Troy in Rochester, Oakland University is expanding; its William Beaumont School of Medicine has opened, and a new health care and research center is planned.
Traditionally Republican, upper-middle-class Bloomfield Township and Rochester Hills were politically competitive in the 2008 presidential election, and Democrats have always fared well in Pontiac, where blacks now account for a majority of residents. Barack Obama won 87 percent of the city's 2008 presidential vote while taking the 9th with 56 percent of the overall vote, 7 percentage points higher than John Kerry took in 2004.
Engineering, health care, auto manufacturing
Troy, 80,980; Farmington Hills, 79,740; Rochester Hills, 70,995; Waterford (pt.), 65,119; Pontiac, 59,515; Royal Oak (pt.), 51,824; Auburn Hills, 21,412
The Holocaust Memorial Center, the first Holocaust museum built in the United States, is in Farmington Hills.
|2010||general||Gary Peters (D)||125,730||49.8%|
|Rocky Raczkowski (R)||119,325||47.2%|
|Adam Goodman (LIBERT)||2,601||1%|
|Douglas Campbell (GREEN)||2,484||1%|
|Bob Gray (NPA)||1,866||0.7%|
|Matthew Kuofie (NPA)||644||0.2%|
|2008||general||Gary Peters (D)||183,311||52.1%|
|Joe Knollenberg (R)||150,035||42.6%|
|Jack Kevorkian (X)||8,987||2.6%|
|Adam Goodman (LIBERT)||4,893||1.4%|
|Douglas Campbell (GREEN)||4,737||1.3%|
|2006||general||Joe Knollenberg (R)||142,390||51.6%|
|Nancy Skinner (D)||127,620||46.2%|
|Adam Goodman (LIBERT)||3,702||1.3%|
|Matthew Abel (GREEN)||2,468||0.9%|
|2004||general||Joe Knollenberg (R)||199,210||58.4%|
|Steven Reifman (D)||134,764||39.5%|
|Robert Schubring (LIBERT)||6,825||2%|
|2002||general||Joe Knollenberg (R)||141,102||58.1%|
|David Fink (D)||96,856||39.9%|
|Robert Schubring (LIBERT)||4,922||2%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 56%||John McCain: 43%|
|2004||John Kerry: 49%||George W. Bush: 50%|
|2000||Al Gore: 48%||George W. Bush: 52%|