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Land fights back against opposition to candidacy
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Newschannel 3 is on top of one of the biggest races of Vote 2014. Who will be Michigan's next U.S. Senator?
Longtime Democrat Carl Levin is retiring at the end of next year and that opens up an opportunity for the Republicans to steal a seat.
But, there is controversy inside the party about the choice of local candidate Terri Lynn Land to get the nomination to run next November. No politician ever wants to be called out publicly, especially on the campaign trail and especially by somebody in the same party. But in a recent news report, a Republican was quoted as calling the former secretary of state "awkward."
While Land certainly wasn't the first choice of the Republican Party, in a sitdown interview with Newschannel 3, she says she is the right choice.
Terri Lynn Land was born in Grand Rapids and was a two-term secretary of state. On the surface, one would think she has very good name recognition, just by having her picture up on the walls of each secretary of state office for eight years.
Comments published on the website of U.S. News and World Report suggest some Republicans don't think she's the best candidate. A Michigan GOP activist was quoted: "The reality is she's awkward, lives in the wrong part of the state and has failed miserably at most of her campaigns for electoral office."
"It's tough," Land says. "As you said, when you don't know who said it and what occasion that was. I think I am very professional, very easy to get along with. I appreciate listening to folks and hearing their ideas."
Land will tell people she's the only candidate in her likely race with Rep. Gary Peters who's won a statewide race, despite some of the ill feelings in the party.
"Definitely winnable," she says. "We are doing very well in the polling. People still remember what we did as secretary of state: the great customer service, downsizing government and that's what they want in Washington."
Some Republicans will tell you this is an all-in campaign for Land. She's going to be spending millions of dollars of her own money. There's a thought the Republicans could flip the U.S. Senate to a Republican majority if Land can pull off something no Republican's done in decades.
Some of the early polling suggests a small early margin between Land and Peters, a candidate Democrats admit has a weakness to Land, his own name recognition. The leaders in Peters' campaign told Newschannel 3 Friday they're going to try to change that with a grassroots campaign. Peters' staffers did say they plan to be campaigning heavily in West Michigan to introduce him to the west side. Peters was unavailable for comment.
The democrats are taking Land's run for election seriously. Democrat Debbie Stabenow implored Democrats in an e-mail Friday to give money to the Peters campaign, fearing it may very well be a close senate race when it's all said and done.