Terri Lynn Land, the Michigan Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, sailed to victory last night (in an uncontested primary), while receiving more votes than her Democratic opponent, Rep. Gary Peters, received in his respective primary.
As of this writing, official Michigan Department of State election totals show that just over 1,000,000 votes were cast in Tuesday night’s primary. Land received 587,570 votes while Peters received 503,580.
That’s a difference of 83,990 votes — a pretty decisive margin that would have lifted her to victory in a general election.
But although last night’s primary may give Land’s campaign some steam heading into the final three months before November's general election, she's still running uphill. Land has consistently polled behind Peters for the past three months, and the Michigan GOP establishment is not her biggest fan.
Bill Ballenger, a former Michigan state legislator, told the National Journal he had doubts about Land’s abilities.
“She has done, in my view, some things that simply underscore all the doubts and qualms about her – not only from Democrats and the media but from people in her own party.” Ballenger said. “Frankly, she's going to have to overcome those things. And maybe she can't. And if she can't, she'll lose.”
A Michigan GOP insider and friend of Land’s who requested anonymity told National Journal that Land “wasn’t anybody’s first choice.”
But even if Land was no one’s first choice, Michigan GOP wasn’t able to find her a primary opponent. Reps. Mike Rogers and Dave Camp each passed on the chance to run.
Land certainly has some hurdles to overcome, but if last night’s primary is any indication, she might not be out of the race just yet.
For instance, Republicans typically benefit from low-turnout midterm elections, when older voters go to the polls as they would in any election but younger voters tend to stay home. Last night’s Michigan primary brought out just 18 percent of registered voters.
But if that turnout holds steady, and barring any more campaign disasters for Land (like the one at the Mackinac Policy Conference where Land appeared incapable of handling press), Michigan voters may have a surprise come November.