ESCANABA - Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has a new role within the Republican Party, serving on the Republican National Comittee, which she discussed during a recent visit to Escanaba. Land is also out lending her support to Pete Hoekstra in his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.
Land, who served two terms as Michigan's Secretary of State from 2003-2010, was recently elected as a committee woman representing Michigan in the Republican National Committee. The RNC consists of three representatives from each state: a male and female representative, and the state party chairman. When factoring in all of the states and U.S. territories, roughly 160 sit on the committee, she said.
Land will serve a four-year term on the RNC, which is currently chaired by Reince Priebus, of Wisconsin.
"How it works is that Saul Anuzis and Holly Hughes, who are the current ones (representing Michigan in the RNC), actually stay at that office until after the convention. Their four-year term ends when the gavel goes down at that convention, because every state holds their conventions differently, so that's the set time," explained Land, who will attend the national convention in Tampa this August.
"I don't get a vote at the convention, but I do get a pass, so I can go down and watch," she said. "I'll be a part of that and participate in the committees and all of that. I'm really looking forward to it."
Land said the RNC feels good about the state of Michigan in the coming presidential election.
"We feel really good about Michigan," said Land. "Mitt Romney's from here, they raised a lot of money here, so I feel really good about Romney being able to take Michigan. I think this is going to be a first for us. As you know, Republicans haven't won Michigan in 20-some years. It's been awhile, so we feel really good about that."
Land also believes this optimism will translate in the U.S. Senate race as Pete Hoekstra challenges Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow for her seat. Land said she has been assisting with Hoekstra's campaign, feeling he has some positive aspects working for him - such as a high name recognition following his run for governor. She also feels he can go toe-to-toe with Stabenow on the issues and has foreign policy experience and experience in balancing a budget.
"I think it's going to be a tough race," said Land. "She (Stabenow's) raised a lot of money. I know that. We know that. But money is a little different these days."
She noted other factors and outlets playing a role, such as the Internet and other media, as well as Super PACs.
Land also acknowledged Michigan's status as a battleground state in other races such as Michigan's 1st Congressional District and state House races, but she feels confident in her party's chances.
"We had a big swing last time and our candidates are going to work hard and they're going to win again," said Land.
Land claims one advantage for Republicans is the Snyder administration.
"I think that one of the things is Snyder and the legislature have done what they said they were going to do," she said. "They balanced a budget. They organized government; they made some stability there. They've been out there de-regulating a lot of rules and laws that have been in the way of job creation and business, ... and unemployment's going down. That's a national and local issue, no doubt, but it's been doing a little bit better. It's going to take awhile."
She said she feels the big thing right now is for candidates to go door-to-door to find supporters as many Michigan voters identify as independents.
"They need to ... just identify their supporters and get out there. If they do that, they'll be successful," she said.