GOP Attacks ‘Rock Star’ Dem

By John Celock

The heat in the competitive race for Michigan governor continues with the Republican Governors Association releasing an ad attacking the Democrat for working with unpopular former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D).

The ad, posted Monday, attacks Democratic nominee Mark Schauer for voting for tax hikes proposed by Granholm, saying that the two hurt the state’s economy. Schauer, a former congressman and state Senate minority leader, is locked in a close race with Gov. Rick Snyder (R). Granholm, who was term limited out of office in 2010, left the governor’s mansion with low approval ratings following an economic downturn in the state.

“Jennifer Granholm signed one of the largest tax increases in Michigan history, thanks to her Senate leader Mark Schauer,” the ad said.

The RGA also described Schauer as the deciding vote for a services tax in the state and blamed Granholm and Schauer for 300,000 jobs being lost in the state. The ad says that Granholm has described Schauer as a “rock star” in the past.

The tactic of invoking an unpopular Democratic predecessor has come up in other races this cycle for governor. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has compared his Democratic rival, state House Minority Leader Paul Davis (D-Lawrence), to former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) on several occasions. Sebelius is unpopular in the state due to her service as health and human services secretary in President Barack Obama’s cabinet. Davis was in the legislative leadership during part of Sebelius’ tenure.

RGA Chairman New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has used the strategy himself, blaming former Gov. Jon Corzine (D) on several occasions during his 2013 reelection campaign. As part of this, Christie tied his 2013 opponent, then state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen), to Corzine. Buono chaired the Senate budget committee during the last two years of Corzine’s term.