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.

What We're Following See More »
Jon Stewart May Debut on HBO Before the Election
2 hours ago

"Jon Stewart could arrive on HBO in time for the November presidential election. In a Paley Media Council interview Thursday with CNN’s Brian Stelter, HBO CEO Richard Plepler was asked whether viewers could expect to see Stewart, former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” on HBO before the general election. 'Yeah, I’m hopeful,' Plepler said."

Metro to Begin Rolling Closures Next Month
5 hours ago

Beginning next month, Metro will begin a series of "about 15 separate large-scale work projects," each of which will close down stations and/or sections of track for up to weeks at a time. The entire initiative is expected to take about a year. The Washington Post has a list of the schedule of closures, and which lines and stations they'll affect.

Trump to Meet with Ryan, Leadership Next Week
5 hours ago

A day after saying he could not yet support Donald Trump's presidential bid, House Speaker Paul Ryan has invited the billionaire to a meeting in Washington next week with House leadership. Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will also meet separately with Trump. 

Obama on Trump: ‘This Is a Really Serious Job’
5 hours ago

"President Obama used the White House podium on Friday to dismiss Donald Trump as an unserious candidate to succeed him, and said leading the country isn't a job that's suited to reality show antics." At a briefing with reporters, the president said, "I just want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. And what that means is that every candidate, every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny."

Panama Papers Spur White House to Crack Down on Evasion
8 hours ago

In the The White House on Thursday night unveiled a series of executive actions to combat money laundering—"among the most comprehensive response yet to the Panama Papers revelations." The president's orders will tighten transparency rules, close loopholes that allow "foreigners to hide financial activity behind anonymous entities in the U.S., and demand stricter “customer due diligence” rules for banks.