GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Political Action Committee and Fed PAC Board of Directors have endorsed Rep. Gary Peters (D) over former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) in the race to replace Carl Levin in the U.S. Senate.
“Congressman Peters has a proven track record of bipartisan leadership that is focused on solutions instead of partisan bickering,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, in a statement that accompanied the endorsement press release.
The press release also included a statement attributed to Williams that had all the sincere warmth of an announcement that a longtime company employee or a football coach with back-to-back-to-back losing seasons had just been shown the door.
“We are grateful for the willingness of Secretary Land to serve our country and state at this important time. She was an effective Secretary of State whom we often supported and we look forward to working with her again in the future.”
The most recent survey of Michigan voters, this one conducted by Republican-leaning Magellan Strategies the first week of June, shows Peters has a 9-point lead over Land. That is the widest margin of any of the voter polls released in May or June, but Peters is leading in all of them.
Still Land was able to generate several rounds of applause from more than 350 people during an appearance before the Small Business Association of Michigan June 19 as she proclaimed her opposition to Obamacare, high taxes, an unbalanced federal budget and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposal.
Land also told her audience, parroting her latest TV campaign aid, that she could bust the gridlock in Washington “because as a mother I know how to break up a fight between my children.”
After the event, surrounded by reporters, Land said Obamacare has to go.
“What you need to do is to have a plan that works for all. Right now we have a plan that does not work for everyone,” she said. “You need to have a plan that is affordable, one that you can buy with pre-tax dollars like businesses do, and you need to have one that keeps that doctor-patient relationship.”
Land said, “225,000 folks have lost their (healthcare) plans. They have lost their doctor. They have lost their doctor-patient relationship.”
Peters is pressing Land to debate him. She has steadfastly refused.
“I look forward to the forums and conversations with the voters, and look forward to seeing Congressman Peters, and we will see what happens,” Land told reporters June 19.
However, neither she nor her campaign aides would go into any more detail on the possibility of debating Peters, as her people declared “last question” and pulled her away.
Michigan Democrats issued a press release immediately after the Small Business Association of Michigan luncheon chiding Land for refusing to debate.
“Michiganders deserve to hear from both candidates, so why is Terri Lynn Land spending her whole campaign in hiding – and now refusing to debate?” Joshua Pugh, the communications director of the Michigan Democratic Party, said. “Land just thinks that she and her special-interest backers can buy this election.”
However, in the case of the June 19 Small Business Association of Michigan luncheon, it was Land who showed up and Peters who did not. The Democrat sent a five-minute videotaped speech, as did Mark Schauer, the Democrat running for governor.
Peters said in his statement that he needed to stay in Washington on important congressional business. However, one of Land’s aides said he was really at a fundraising event.
Peter’s campaign office released a statement calling that accusation “unfounded and false,” pointing out there were no fundraisers scheduled for his campaign June 19.
Both houses of Congress were in session that day, and his campaign staff said Peters stayed in Washington to vote on the Defense Appropriations Act of 2015, along with several amendments, one to protect jobs at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan.
“Land’s misinformed charges demonstrate why debates are so critical and why debate planning must take place as soon as possible,” said a statement included with the explanation.
Land followed Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on stage for their five-minute presentations as part of what the Small Business Association of Michigan billed as a “candidate forum.”
Snyder was the star of the event. A day before signing the “Grand Bargain” that Snyder and Detroit officials hope will settle the city’s historic bankruptcy with as little pain for city pensioners as possible, Snyder received two rousing standing ovations from the very Republican-friendly audience in Lansing, Mich.
The first came at the beginning of his presentation — and seemed to genuinely surprise Snyder.
The second ovation came at the end of his presentation during which he spoke of his business experience as an entrepreneur, business executive and venture capitalist, along with his record in office.
“We got rid of the Michigan Business Tax, the dumbest tax in the country,” Snyder said to applause and cheers. “Now we are working on getting rid of the Personal Property Tax (that will be up to voters in November), tax rates have come down, unemployment is down and we have cut back on regulations, too.”
Snyder’s lead over former Rep. Schauer was 10 points in May, according to a Detroit News survey of Michigan voters. A Mitchell Research survey released June 6 showed Snyder’s lead had been trimmed to 5 points.
Snyder’s campaign platform is simple, as the Republican who followed Jennifer Granholm into office and had to clean up from what Granholm herself called “a decade from hell,” told his audience.
“I am running on my record,” Snyder said as he pulled out a multi-fold, six-foot -piece of paper that opened page-by-page and reached the stage floor.
Snyder brought the audience to its feet again when he said, “We should not be slowing down or stopping to celebrate. We should accelerate. There is more to be done.”
“Let’s not leave the path. Let’s continue on this path. It is working.”
(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)