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Terri Lynn Land

This one has to sting for Team Red:

Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) said Thursday she will not run against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) in 2012, leaving Republicans still in the hunt for a top challenger. ...

“At this time, I have decided not to be a candidate for the US Senate, but I will continue to support and be involved with conservative people who will lead our country to prosperity and protect our freedoms,” she wrote.

Land is the second Republican to take a pass on a bid against Stabenow this year. Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who unsuccessfully ran for governor last year, announced last month that he would not pursue the seat.

It's a little sad when your other "top-tier" hope was Pete Hoekstra, but such is the Michigan GOP. Former AG Mike Cox (who ran in last year's gubernatorial primary) has also ruled out the race, and no sitting member of the state's congressional delegation seems interested. Behind-the-scenes wheeler-dealer Saul Anuzis (the former chair of the state Republican Party) seems to be their best bet right now... but even he suggested he'd prefer to see someone else run. And apart from a losing bid for RNC chair, Anuzis has never sought any kind of office.

I don't want to get haughty here: Michigan Republicans could find their Ron Johnson—some rich guy nobody knows who winds up catching fire and has the resources to stoke the flames. But that seems like a harder thing to pull off in 2012 than 2010 (and harder in Michigan than in neighboring Wisconsin). Stabenow's most recent poll numbers from PPP were quite heartening, but even if the GOP winds up with a third-stringer, I think this race is likely to stay on the watch list.

UPDATE: It's even worse for the Republicans than I thought. Reader JJ passes along this link:

Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said Thursday she was backing away from next year's race for Michigan's U.S. Senate seat because she doesn't feel GOP officials at the state or national level are willing to commit the resources to beat Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow.

"It's not about words, it's about actions. And the actions just aren't there from the national to the local (GOP organizations) to say that they want to make this a priority and they're willing to do this," Land told The Associated Press. "That's what's needed in this kind of a race against an incumbent who's strong."

That's a rather different—and much more negative—spin than Roll Call put on the announcement. I'm not sure what Land is trying to accomplish by cracking out of turn here. Does she think she'll inspire the NRSC and other orgs to get more involved by calling them out like this?

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Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri May 06, 2011 at 09:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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