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Michigan GOP airs 'Sharknado'-inspired ad

By Eric Bradner, CNN
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Michigan GOP is targeting Democratic Senate hopeful Gary Peters with a 'Sharknado'-themed ad.
  • The ad focuses on Peters' campaign contributions from a felon with ties to a loan sharking ring.
  • Peters' campaign says he's given back or donated those contributions.

Washington (CNN) -- Michigan Democratic Senate hopeful Gary Peters is the target of a Sharknado-inspired cartoon, but supporters say the ad is part of a campaign that "jumped the shark."

The Michigan Republican Party has a new 30-second spot featuring Peters' face imposed on top of a Hawaiian shirt-wearing body, running away from a tornado that's spewing sharks out of the sky around him. One loudly belches up a wad of cash.

"Dark clouds are gathering, and Gary Peters is in the eye of the storm," the ad's narrator says. "Funded by a convicted felon, connected to a loan shark ring, run by an international gangster who also contributed to Peters' campaign. Gary Peters: Loan Sharknado. Coming soon to a voting booth near you."

The convicted felon connected to a loan sharking ring is Xhafer Laho, who donated $6,100 to Peters between 2010 and 2014, and was recently sentenced to four years in prison. A Peters spokeswoman said the congressman has given back or donated those contributions -- most of them years ago.

"Down in all recent polls and relying on D-list cultural references, Terri Lynn Land's Senate campaign has officially jumped the shark."
Haley Morris, Gary Peters campaign spokeswoman

"Down in all recent polls and relying on D-list cultural references, Terri Lynn Land's Senate campaign has officially jumped the shark," Peters spokeswoman Haley Morris said of the ad.

The ad is part of a last-ditch effort by Republicans to turn the race into a competitive one ahead of the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

On a map otherwise ripe with GOP pick-up opportunities, the race in Michigan -- which in presidential elections is a key swing state -- has remained outside of Republicans' grasp.

RealClearPolitics' polling average shows Peters with a nine percentage point advantage over Land, who has struggled with local media and hasn't been able to overcome Democrats' efforts to latch her to the conservative Koch brothers.

"Consider this just the latest in failed gimmicks from Land that do nothing to distract from the fact that she is out of touch with Michigan's middle class," Morris said. "It's clear Land can't defend her Koch-backed agenda that would eliminate a federal minimum wage, but she could spare Michiganders her desperation."

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