Washington— Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land is unveiling a new 30-second television ad Wednesday, emphasizing Michigan’s industrial and automotive history and vowing to turn around the state.
Land, a former Michigan Secretary of State, is vying with Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, to replace retiring U.S. Sen Carl Levin, D-Detroit. The ad called “I Pledge” is a break with earlier ads that criticized Peters by name and invoked some unconventional tactics that were criticized by a top Republican pollster.
Peters has a slight lead over Land — largely because of edge among female voters — according to recent polls.
“There was a time when Michigan was first — in industry, in innovation, in creating the things and the ideas that drove America forward. In our hands,” says the narrator as images of early cars rolling off the assembly line, the Mackinac Bridge, bags of Epsom Salt and a Dow Chemical rail car are shown.
They are followed by images of modern workers’ hands shown at a computer and working with a machine. “We hold the power… There was a time, and there can be a time again.”
A diverse group of people — a farmer, a blue-collar worker, people from different racial backgrounds, holds up their hand and say: “I pledge” and some hold up one finger. The narrator says they are pledging “to put Michigan first.”
The ad will air across the state and Democrats say Land has reserved some significant air time; Land’s campaign didn’t disclose how much they are spending to air the ad.
The ad doesn’t address any specifics, but plays on the fact that Michigan, for much of the 20th century, was an economic powerhouse fueled by the rising auto industry. Michigan fell into a one-state recession in the early 2000s and over the next decade lost nearly half of its factory jobs. The state was the only one of 50 to lose population in the 2010 U.S. Census and has seen average income decline compared to other states.
Michigan is still recovering from the single worst seven-year economic period since the Great Depression. During most of the last decade, Michigan's economic growth was slow or declined, and it entered a one-state recession between 2003 and 2009.
Michigan's population grew an estimated 0.1 percent since 2010. Meanwhile, the U.S. population has grown 0.8 percent.
“In Michigan, we make things, we move things, we invent things, and we lead,” Land said. “But because of the broken policies of Washington politicians, Michigan is being held back. I pledge as Michigan’s next U.S. Senator to put Michigan first, like I did when I was Secretary of State. I will work to cut spending and balance the budget, I will work to repeal and replace Obamacare, and I will work to grow our economy, because by working together we can create more good-paying Michigan jobs.”
Democrats in Michigan have aired online ads criticizing Land's position on the auto bailout.
Peters has sought to capitalize on comments Land made in 2012 in which she supported Mitt Romney's opposition to a taxpayer bailout of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.
Democrats criticized Land's opposition to the $85 billion auto bailout, citing a 2012 interview in which she backed Romney's position. Romney wrote an opinion piece titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" that opposed bailouts unless automakers first filed for bankruptcy.
Land has said on several occasions that she supports the auto industry and auto workers and has vowed to improve business conditions for automakers if elected.