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Michigan U.S. Senate hopeful John James is promoting his combat experience flying Apache helicopters in Iraq, appearing on screen in his first ad standing next to a Hellfire missile replica with “U.S. Army” stenciled on its side.

“Hunting terrorists in the skies above Baghdad, there are two things you need: Faith in God and a Hellfire missile,” the Farmington Hills Republican says in the ad.

“I flew Apaches because I wanted to take the fight to the enemy. Now, I’m volunteering for a new fight. To secure the borders, defend our constitutional rights and protect Michigan jobs.”

James goes on to say he hate politics “but I love this country.” The ad describes him as a “conservative warrior.”

It is James’ first major television ad purchase since joining the Senate race last year. He will face Grosse Pointe financier Sandy Pensler in the August primary.

The 30-second spot, which launched Friday, is running on Fox News in Detroit and Grand Rapids media markets, as well as running statewide online, according to the campaign.

It follows on the heels of James’ endorsement last week by the Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Committee. He is the only candidate in the Senate race to receive the PAC’s endorsement.

James’ ad does not mention incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Lansing Democrat who is seeking a fourth term.

Stabenow won re-election by wide margins in 2006 and 2012, defeating Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra with 57 percent and 59 percent of the vote, respectively.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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