A poll released by the Detroit News on Tuesday gave Republicans some bad news regarding their efforts to overtake the Senate from Democrats in November. Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) currently holds a ten-point lead over Republican Terri Lynn Land, 47% to 37%, in Michigan’s open US Senate race. Republicans were hoping to flip this seat red after longtime Democratic incumbent, Sen. Carl Levin, announced he’d be retiring at the end of his term. With the popular Levin out of the picture, the seat appeared vulnerable due to Michigan’s status as a swing state and President Obama’s middling approval numbers.
However, Land has proven herself to be an awful candidate. US News and World Report ran a story about her on Wednesday pointing out how she has been essentially invisible on the campaign trail. Even though she has run millions of dollars of ads on TV and radio, she has not made herself accessible to voters or reporters. Land has not made many public appearances, and she has, thus far, refused to debate Peters. Apparently, she is very uncomfortable with anything that is unscripted, whether it is answering reporters’ questions or meeting with everyday voters.
The article highlighted a moment a few months ago where she and Peters both appeared at a conference, and she lashed out at reporters for asking too many questions.
Land is a wobbly, uneven candidate, uncomfortable with the unscripted interactions required of any statewide contender. Her singular joint public appearance with Peters at the Mackinac Policy Conference back in May is remembered for an unvarnished moment when she responded to a scrum of reporters bombarding her with questions with the frazzled reply, “I can’t do this!”
After Land had backed out of a debate this past Monday at the last minute, the Peters camp placed an empty chair on the stage, hearkening back to the infamous Clint Eastwood speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
— Fritz Klug (@fritzklug) September 9, 2014
Overall, Peters is leading with a couple of key demographics that all but spell defeat for Land. Peters leads among women by 17 points, 50% to 33%. The lead is even wider when it comes to independents as Peters is ahead of Land by nearly 30 points. Land’s unfavorable ratings are also troubling when compared to Peters. Nearly 41% of voters have an unfavorable view of the former Michigan Secretary of State. Meanwhile, less than 28% feel the same way about Peters.
Pollster Richard Czuba said that this race is shaping up a lot like the 2012 Michigan Senate race between Republican Pete Hoekstra and incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Republicans thought they had a chance with Hoekstra until his campaign ran a blatantly racist ad during that year’s Super Bowl. Land is looking to be just as flawed a candidate as Hoekstra was back then.
“We were talking about these exact same numbers two years ago in the Pete Hoekstra-Debbie Stabenow race. It looks a lot like 2012 to me.”
Basically, it is looking more and more like Republicans are going to need to write off Michigan in their attempt to take the majority in the Senate.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).