The National Republican Senatorial Committee is pulling television advertisements that support a Michigan Republican, signaling that the party may have lost faith in their candidate with just a month left until the midterm elections.
The national group pulled ads in the state worth more than $850,000,The Hill reported on Tuesday. The media blitz was originally planned to support the state’s former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, the Republican running against Democrat Rep. Gary Peters to fill a Senate seat left by retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.
This may sound familiar to Michigan voters: in 2004, John McCain pulled his resources, staff, and advertising out of the state a month ahead of his election, presuming it a lost state. A month later, Obama won 57% of the state.
Republicans deny the decision was made because Land is trailing in the polls.
“The suggestion that the campaign is struggling is ridiculous, this is an extremely competitive race which is why Gary Peters has run one of the most negative campaigns in the country,” NRSC spokesman Brook Hougesen told msnbc in an email, noting that ad buys are handled by the NRSC Independent Expenditure Committee.
That committee told msnbc that it’s actually because outside groups are spending so heavily for Land.
“Right now the other outside allied groups have Michigan well covered,” a committee consultant Ron Bonjean said in an email. “We will be making more decisions on the race during the next four weeks and strongly believe Terri Lynn Land will be a US Senator on November 4th.”
Indeed, according to Open Secrets, more than $21 million has been spent by outside groups in the Michigan Senate race — but the majority of it is against Republicans. On the other hand, another calculation by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network sees more than $32 million spent in the race, the majority by Land and her supporters, including the Koch brothers.
Peters’ spokesman Haley Morris rejected the assertion that Peters was running a negative campaign, telling msnbc that they were doing well “because he is the only candidate Michiganders trust to fight for our middle class.”
Republican National Committee spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski told msnbc in an email that the RNC is focusing on mobilizing voters. “We have our groundgame in Michigan and have for a year and a half. All of it is for Get Out The Vote. We aren’t doing paid advertising this cycle,” she said.