Dems launch new ad attacking Terri Lynn Land on support for women

David Shepardson
The Detroit News

Democrats are launching a new television campaign ad Wednesday that challenges Terri Lynn Land’s positions on issues important to women.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching a multimillion-dollar ad buystatewide that mocks Land’s first campaign ad. That ad titled “Really?” featured Land, a former two-time Michigan secretary of state, holding a cup of coffee and staring into the camera for 13 seconds after saying “as a woman, I might know a little bit more about women” than U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township.

Both Land and Peters are seeking to replace the retiring Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit. The ad is the latest sign that both parties are convinced that female voters in Michigan will make the difference in a key Senate race that could decide control of the chamber next year.

Land and her campaign have repeatedly attacked Peters, claiming he pays female employees less on average than male staffers. The race has been close, but Peters has consistently been ahead of Land in the polls in recent months.

The new ad features women watching Land’s ad on an iPad, with one asserting that Land “knows nothing about the Michigan women that I know.” The ad doesn’t detail any of Peters’ positions on the issues outlined in the ad.

“Terri Lynn Land would tell victims of rape and incest they have no choice and believes that guaranteeing equal pay for women is not a ‘good idea,’ she’s clearly on the wrong side of Michigan women,” said Regan Page, a spokeswoman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “The DSCC will continue to highlight how Michigan women deserve a leader in Washington that will fight for pay equity and women’s health care and just how clear it is that Terri Lynn Land will do neither.”

Land has repeatedly said she supports equal pay for equal work, which has been federal law for more than a half-century. In a May commentary in The Detroit News, she reiterated wrote, “Many families also need flexibility in their workday in order to make their life work, that's why I advocate for equal pay and flexible hours.”

In June, Republican pollster Frank Luntz called the “Really?” campaign ad the worst spot of the 2014 campaign season. Since then, Land has launched several ads attacking Peters, including one featuring two young boys playing members of Congress who are behaving badly.

The “Really?” ad, aired in May, sought to reject claims that Land is anti-woman because of her opposition to abortion and federal legislation known as the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Luntz criticized the commercial on “Fox & Friends” for failing to “give any message” or “communicate any sense of substance.”

Peters has never used the phrase “war on women,” but has highlighted his support for the Paycheck Fairness Act and abortion rights. Republicans and conservatives have criticized the pay legislation as a gift to plaintiffs’ lawyers because it would remove the presumption of innocence for companies accused of wage discrimination.