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to participate in any public events, and she already stumbled once last year when she suggested Obamacare shouldn’t be repealed outright.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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"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."
Memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday night "implemented sweeping changes to the way immigration policy is enforced, making clear that millions of people living illegally in the U.S. are now subject to deportation and pushing authorities to fast-track the removal of many of them. ... The policy calls for enlisting local authorities to enforce immigration law, jailing more people while they wait for their hearings and trying to send border crossers back to Mexico to await proceedings, even if they aren’t Mexican."
Retired Russian diplomats and members of Vladimir Putin's staff are compiling a dossier "on Donald Trump's psychological makeup" for the Russian leader. "Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."