LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Terri Lynn Land will report raising more than $1 million over three months and kicking in another $600,000 of her own to her U.S. Senate campaign, news that coincided Tuesday with a conservative group launching $1 million in ads attacking her Democratic opponent over the federal health care law.
Land, a former Michigan secretary of state from the Grand Rapids area, said Tuesday that her campaign collected nearly $1.7 million from October through December, bringing her total to around $3.7 million in 2013 — including $1.6 million in personal funds.
She didn't say how much she had spent in the race for an open seat that could attract tens of millions of spending and impact which party controls the Senate. Reports are due Jan. 31 from Land and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, who have been evenly matched in polls to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.
The conservative organization Americans for Prosperity on Tuesday rolled out TV and radio ads criticizing Peters over the health law. The suburban Detroit congressman has defended his support for the law while also voting for fixes or delays, and Land is using his claim that policyholders wouldn't lose their coverage as a main campaign point.
The 30-second ads were to begin airing Tuesday evening and run for three weeks, costing about $720,000 on broadcast and cable TV networks, $225,000 on radio and the rest online, according to AFP President Tim Phillips.
"We don't want attention diverted elsewhere. We want Obamacare to be the No. 1 issue in this country," Phillips told reporters gathered outside the Capitol. "We want to make sure members in the House and Senate who gave us this legislation are held accountable."
Americans for Prosperity's foray into Michigan's Senate race drew criticism from the state Democratic Party, which pointed out questionable statements that Land made last summer about super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money but must disclose donors and operate independently of campaigns. At a GOP event in August, Land appeared to hint at coordinating with outside interests, which is illegal.