New attack ads launched in GOP governor’s race

The Detroit News

A super political action committee supporting Attorney General Bill Schuette for governor this week began airing a new television attack ad linking Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley to an unpopular business tax adopted under Democratic former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

“With Brian Calley on the job,” a narrator says as the ad cuts to an iconic clip of Granholm, “you’re going to be blown away.”

As a state legislator in 2007, Calley supported the creation of the Michigan Business Tax. But as lieutenant governor, he cast a tie-breaking vote to scrap it for a simpler corporate tax praised by the business community and has celebrated the 2011 tax code overhaul.

Calley’s campaign said he worked to exempt as many business as possible from the 2007 tax, which replaced an earlier Single Business Tax, and noted the Small Business Association of Michigan responded by naming him legislator of the year.

“Bull Schuette’s shady SuperPAC attack ads won't trick voters,” said Calley campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf.

The ad is the latest attack from Schuette and his allies amid an ongoing GOP primary ad war. The Midland Republican’s campaign launched its first ads last week, including the first negative commercial of the 2018 governor’s race.

Pro-Calley ads aired by his campaign and Gov. Rick Snyder have touted the Portland Republican as the best candidate to “continue the comeback” and build on recent economic gains.

Meanwhile, supporters of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Gretchen Whitmer last week began trolling the Fund for Michigan’s Tomorrows, a nonprofit that is also running television ads supporting Schuette, by using an Internet URL to bash the attorney general.

The touts Whitmer and her work to “stop Bill Schuette’s BS this November.” The site is not paid for by any campaign, according to a disclaimer, but by people who discovered the nonprofit “hadn’t bothered to register the domain.”

Bolton endorses James

Republican Senate hopeful John James picked up an endorsement last week from conservative firebrand John Bolton, whom President Donald Trump recently tapped to be his new national security adviser.

Bolton, a commentator on Fox News, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. He endorsed James, an Iraq war veteran, through his political action committee, John Bolton PAC.

“I’m honored to have the support of Ambassador John Bolton,” James said in a statement.

“I understand national security from a strategic to a tactical level. I understand how to keep Americans safe because I’ve done it before and will continue to do so as Michigan’s next U.S. senator.”

James of Farmington Hills is hoping to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, who is running for a fourth term. Also seeking the GOP nomination is Sandy Pensler of Grosse Pointe.

Lipton gets EMILY nod

Former state Rep. Ellen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods, was endorsed this week by EMILY’s List, a national group that backs candidates who support abortion rights, in her bid to succeed retiring Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, in Congress.

Lipton is running for the Democratic nomination for the 9th District, along with others including Democratic state Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren, Levin’s son, Andy Levin of Bloomfield Hills, and Martin Brook, a labor and employment law attorney from Bloomfield Township.

“As a fierce advocate for educational opportunity and biomedical research, Ellen has what it takes to be the champion southeast Michiganders need in the House, building the foundation for tomorrow’s economy,” EMILY’S List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement.

“In the Michigan House, she was a fierce supporter of public schools, never forgetting her roots in a family of educators. Ellen’s commitment to helping others will make her a steadfast advocate for families of the 9th District.”

Lipton served three terms representing the 27th District in the Michigan House of Representatives in southeast Oakland County from 2009-14.

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Melissa Nann Burke