One of the congressional districts that democrats are targeting in 2008 is Michigan's 9th district. The 9th district, located in eastern Oakland County, is currently held by Republican Joe Knollenberg. Knollenberg, who is 73, has served in Congress since 1992. He represented a somewhat different district in the 1990s. Knollenberg won a fairly close reelection in 2006. He has an 88% rating from the American Conservative Union.
The democrats appear to have settled on former State Senator Gary Peters to challenge Knollenberg. Peters held office from 1994 to 2002. In 2002, he narrowly lost a race for Michigan Attorney General to Republican Mike Cox. After that, Governor Granholm appointed him lottery commissioner.
Peters has been the focus of controversy due to his appointment as a political science professor at Central Michigan University earlier this year. Peters will be paid $65,000 to teach one class per semester.
This is very suspicious. While it is not unusual for a college professor to earn $65,000, it is very unusual to earn that much as a new hire with no tenure and no PhD. While CMU considers the job 'full time', it is hard to see it as more than a ten-hour-a-week job.
The committee that hired Peters knew that Peters was considering running for Congress. That committee is composed exclusively of democrats. Peters was hired over moderate Republican former State Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, even though Sikkema has served in government longer, had a higher position in the state senate, and has a similar education.
Another question is whether Peters will be able to adequately perform his job while he is running for Congress 122 miles away.
This looks like a political payoff for Peters from the liberals at CMU.
Voters ought to consider this before hiring Gary Peters.