As he did successfully in launching his first bid for governor in 2010, Republican Rick Snyder this week started his reelection quest Sunday with an expensive Super Bowl TV ad followed by a multi-city campaign blitz.
He scheduled stops on Monday in Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids, and Tuesday in Traverse City, Frankenmuth and Farmington at family businesses that, his campaign hyped, have “flourished” under his reign.
In his Super Bowl ad, which cost a whopping $500,000 or $600,000 according to various reports not verified by his campaign, Snyder was in visuals featuring auto plants, the Michigan skyline and other scenes touting jobs and the environment.
On Friday, well before knowing what actually was in Snyder’s Super Bowl ad, the Michigan Democratic Party staged a telephone press conference on what “won’t be heard” in the commercial from Snyder.
Democratic State Chairman Lon Johnson cited cuts in school funding and “unfair” retirement tax cuts. House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel criticized tax relief for “corporations and the wealthy,” and said there’s an “on-going scandal” in the Treasury Department over excessive salaries.
The Dem gig trotted out a retired Grand Rapids teacher, Joanne Peterson, who said she’s having trouble heating her home, given escalating expenses.
According to finance reports filed last week, Snyder has $4 million on hand for his campaign compared to $1 million for U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, his Democratic challenger.
Benishek touts national parks
With four national parks in his district, U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek has more than any member of Michigan’s House delegation and more than most members in other states.
Last week his legislation to further protect the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, located in Leelanau and Benzie counties, was unanimously passed and sent to the House floor by the House Committee on Natural Resources, of which he is a member.
The other national parks in Benishek’s district are in the Upper Peninsula —Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park, and Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Benishek’s legislation, sought for a decade by activists, would designate approximately 32,500 acres of the Lakeshore as “wilderness” areas. It ensures that natural features of the area will be preserved, while protecting county roads, historical structures, and access to recreation and enjoyment of the lake. The right to hunt and fish in designated wilderness areas is specifically protected.
He said: “This is a big win for Sleeping Bear Dunes and all of Northern Michigan. For the first time, this important legislation is set to move to the House floor for a full vote. The dunes are an amazing natural wonder and are also a cornerstone of our local economy up here. That’s why it’s so important that we ensure the dunes are protected for future generations to enjoy. There is still more work to do, and I’m going to keep pushing for this legislation to get to the floor and be sent to the president’s desk.”
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has been named by viewers of ABC’s “Good Morning America” as the most beautiful place in America.
Stabenow on a roll
The seat of two-term Democratic U. S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow is not the one up for election this year — rather, there is a spirited race shaping up to replace retiring six-term Democrat Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving senator.
Too bad for Democrats, because the popular Stabenow is on a roll with her leadership Capitol Hill roles, with bipartisan support, on two issues — the farm bill and fighting threatened Great Lakes invasion by Asian carp.
The primary has yet to be held, but the general election undoubtedly will be between Republican former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land of Kent County and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters of Oakland County.
In a development last week, Land resigned as Michigan’s Republican National Committeewoman in order to focus on the Senate race. It was a smart move because she has been under pressure from Democrats to be more assertive in distancing herself from the widely-criticized negative comments by Michigan Republican National Committee Dave Agema about gays and Muslims.
The Associated Press noted that the Michigan Democratic Party, which has been accusing Land of improperly coordinating her campaign with “outside groups,” cited the resignation as evidence of its claims.
George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was the political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.