Mobile GOP ad targets Stabenow at Dream Cruise

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The Senate Republicans’ campaign arm is behind a mobile billboard that will join the Woodward Dream Cruise on Saturday, displaying an ad attacking U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is up for re-election next year.

Mounted on the side of a delivery truck, the ad reads, “Career Politician Debbie Stabenow: Over 40 years in Office, No Results for Michigan.”

The Dream Cruise, a classic car show, covers a 16-mile stretch of Woodward through nine Metro Detroit communities.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which paid for the mobile billboard, said the truck will drive the route of the rolling car show from Eight Mile to the loop in Pontiac from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m.

The truck and display are under the new 10,000-pound weight limit for vehicles on the circuit this year, according to the NRSC.

It’s the second ad targeting Stabenow this year by the NRSC. Republicans have zeroed in on Stabenow early this cycle as one of 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in a state that GOP President Donald Trump won last fall.

“There is no excuse for Debbie Stabenow’s failure to deliver for Michigan families throughout the 40 years she’s been in office,” NRSC communications director Katie Martin said in a statement. “Her do-nothing record is one example of why it’s time to retire Debbie in 2018.”

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon on Friday defended Stabenow and her record.

“Debbie Stabenow is a tireless fighter for Michigan who has a strong record of results for our state,” Dillon said. “This is just a gimmick at and event where people aren’t looking to be bothered with partisan politics.”

The NRSC in February aired an ad during a University of Michigan-Michigan State men’s basketball game on ESPN, pressuring Stabenow to vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

It didn’t work. The Lansing Democrat voted against Gorsuch, saying he had a long record of siding with special interests and institutions instead of the American worker.

Declared hopefuls seeking the GOP nomination in Michigan include Bloomfield Hill businesswoman Lena Epstein and retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young Jr. of Laingsburg.

Detroit businessman and Iraq veteran John James has formed an exploratory committee, and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, is still considering a run. The musician Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, has teased campaign with a website selling “Kid Rock for US Senate” gear.

Stabenow served in the U.S. House for four years before winning election to the Senate in 2000, narrowly defeating Republican Sen. Spence Abraham by less than 3 percentage points.

She has since been re-elected by wide margins, topping Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard by 15 percentage points in 2006 and former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland by more than 20 points in 2012.

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