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James goes on attack against Stabenow’s military votes

October 31, 2018
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Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., waves during a rally in Detroit Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., waves during a rally in Detroit Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

GREENBUSH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James is boosting his TV ad spending and airing his first negative spot against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who launched her own closing ad highlighting ways she says she has benefited the state.

James, who flew combat helicopters in the Iraq War, launched an ad this week criticizing the three-term incumbent’s past votes against a military pay raise, emergency funding for troops in Iraq and aid for disabled veterans. His campaign said Wednesday it bought an additional $440,000 in air time, bringing the total to $1.2 million for the final week or so. Stabenow still has outspent him on the airwaves since the August primary and has led in polling.

James’ ad says a “real leader” would not “turn their back” on America’s military, but “career politician” Stabenow has for 18 years.

Stabenow spokeswoman Miranda Margowsky called the ad “absurd,” saying Stabenow has voted to fully fund the military 119 times and has supported a pay raise for troops every year she has been in the Senate. Stabenow has led the effort to open 10 new and expanded veterans’ health clinics in the state and has assisted veterans in other ways, she said.

Stabenow this week kicked off a tour to highlight businesses, colleges, farmers’ markets and other spots that she says reflect her roots and accomplishments. She also launched a new ad in which admirers — a small business owner, a veteran and a carpentry apprentice — say she is “made in Michigan.”

Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, on Wednesday visited a cider mill near St. Johns, north of Lansing, where she urged more than a dozen supporters to help get out the vote.

“This is I think the most important election of my lifetime, and it’s not just because my name is on the ballot,” she said. “It’s much more important than that. It’s about who we are as a country, the character of the country.”

Stabenow was at rally in Detroit with former President Barack Obama last week, and on Thursday she and other Democratic candidates will attend a Lansing rally with former Vice President Joe Biden.

“For me, my campaign has been a positive campaign about Michigan and how I can get things done, how I work with everyone,” she said, emphasizing her endorsements from Republican-leaning agricultural and business groups.

A Glengariff Group poll released this week by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV showed Stabenow leading 53 percent to 36 percent, with 8 percent undecided. The survey of 600 likely voters, conducted Thursday through Saturday, had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

James, the African-American CEO of an automotive logistics company, attended two rallies with Vice President Mike Pence this week and recently aired an ad aimed at wooing black Democratic voters. He spoke Wednesday at the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council in Detroit.

He said he wants to go to Washington “just about as badly as I want to go to Baghdad. But I recognize and realize that if the people who have the tools to change something for the better don’t, we’re going to be left in the same situation.” He said he has a track record from “the battlefield to the boardroom” of doing what is best for everybody while Stabenow, who had held elective office for more than 40 years, “hasn’t proven that she can do anything else but run for office.”

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Follow David Eggert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/David%20Eggert

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