GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan Democrats have enlisted women to wage war on Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land.
The party — hoping Rep. Gary Peters is enough of a candidate for the Democrats to hang on to the Senate seat held by Sen. Carl Levin since 1978 — is using a series of videos showing women describing their dissatisfaction with former secretary of state Land, who has been accused of waging war on her own gender.
These videos are just one part of $8 million in advertising being shot at Michigan voters by the campaigns of Land, Peters and the outside groups supporting them. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has promised to spend up to $400,000 to support Land — one of several races in which the Chamber will be spending campaign money. The American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund — an environmental group — has been running TV ads in western Michigan in support of Peters.
Democrats, Republicans, outside groups and the candidates’ campaigns could spend a total of $50 million on this race by November.
The Michigan Democrats’ video campaign is a counterattack to the Land campaign’s TV and internet ad that showed the GOP Senate candidate sipping a cup of coffee wondering aloud how anyone could possibly accuse her of waging war on women.
“Congressman Gary Peters and his buddies want you to believe I’m waging a war on women. Really?” she says in the ad. “I’m Terri Lynn Land and I approve this message because as a women I think I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters.”
Florine Mark, president, CEO and founder of Weight Watchers, featured in one of the Democratic Party’s videos, speaks in support of Peters. Other Democratic Party videos feature unnamed women criticizing Land’s record on abortion rights and pay equity.
Right to Life of Michigan alleges one of the women — who says she is worried about protecting her daughter’s rights — actually owns three abortion clinics in the Detroit area.
Michigan Democrats did not respond to a request for a comment on the allegation.
Michigan Democrats are counting on the 20-point gender gap that Gallup described as the widest in U.S. political history following the 2012 presidential election to save the Levin Senate seat that has been blue since Jimmy Carter was president.
Michigan Republicans are hoping their candidate will bridge the gap and win an election that most polls say is too close to call. The HuffPost poll tracking model that is updated whenever a new poll is released showed Peters with 42.8 percent of the vote to Land’s 39.1 percent on May 20.
“The bottom line is that Michigan women will not support a candidate – male or female – who, like Land, doesn’t believe in paycheck fairness, would cut access to mammograms, ban common forms of contraception like the pill, and make healthcare more expensive for women,” said Joshua Pugh, the communications director of the Michigan Democratic Party.
“Land should know better than to think that Michigan women won’t weigh the candidates on the issues. This ad completely backfired — as a woman who is out of touch on women’s issues, Ms. Land just lost any benefit of the doubt,” Pugh said.