Republicans Eyeing a Michigan Comeback

The party’s Senate candidate, Terri Lynn Land, has raised over a million dollars in two consecutive quarters.

Terri Lynn Land speaks in Detroit, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
National Journal
Alex Roarty
Jan. 14, 2014, 4:36 a.m.

Against early ex­pect­a­tions, it’s look­ing like Michigan will be one of the ma­jor Sen­ate battle­grounds in 2014.

Former Michigan Sec­ret­ary of State Terri Lynn Land pos­ted her second con­sec­ut­ive strong fun­drais­ing quarter on Tues­day, when her cam­paign re­por­ted rais­ing nearly $1.7 mil­lion in the fourth quarter alone. Since June, she has raised more than $3.7 mil­lion.

That’s an im­press­ive haul for any chal­lenger, even if about half of it has come from her own fin­ances. But it’s es­pe­cially note­worthy sum for Land, who many Re­pub­lic­ans once re­garded as light­weight con­tender with little chance of win­ning a blue state race. The party at­temp­ted to re­cruit a slew of oth­er can­did­ates for the race, in­clud­ing Reps. Dave Camp and Mike Ro­gers, even after Land entered the race. When they passed, many ob­serv­ers con­cluded Demo­crats — who have ral­lied be­hind Rep. Gary Peters as their pre­sumptive nom­in­ee — were a safe bet to re­tain the seat held by re­tir­ing Sen. Carl Lev­in.

Those pre­dic­tions have been turned on their head. Land’s fun­drais­ing and the de­teri­or­at­ing polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment for Demo­crats have com­bined to make the race com­pet­it­ive. Her emer­gence is also a key de­vel­op­ment for na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­ans, of­fer­ing them a path­way to re­take the Sen­ate without hav­ing to win ex­clus­ively in sev­en red state seats cur­rently rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crats.

Danger still lurks for the GOP: Demo­crats mock Land for thus far de­clin­ing to par­ti­cip­ate in any pub­lic events, and she already stumbled once last year when she sug­ges­ted Obama­care shouldn’t be re­pealed out­right. Her cam­paign had to hast­ily is­sue a cor­rec­tion, em­phas­iz­ing that she sup­ports re­peal­ing the health care law in its en­tirety. The reas­on many Re­pub­lic­ans doubted her from the be­gin­ning could ul­ti­mately prove her un­do­ing in a closely scru­tin­ized race.

But for now, Land’s money alone guar­an­tees she’s a ser­i­ous can­did­ate.

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