House Speaker Andy Dillon plans to begin airing his second television ad in the Michigan governor's race Monday, the same day he and his Democratic opponent hold their second televised debate.
In the 30-second ad shown Sunday to The Associated Press, Dillon says Michigan needs a governor who has shown he can "reach across the aisle" to help create jobs.
"We're all in the same boat together. We better start rowing in the same direction," Dillon says in the ad.
His opponent, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, has disputed Dillon's claims about creating jobs, saying he has done little to stem job losses during his four years as speaker. Bernero, who has not yet aired any television ads, also criticized Dillon in the pair's first televised debate last week, saying companies he took over to turn around cut pay and jobs.
Dillon was a turnaround expert before running for the state House.
Bernero's expected to make similar comments when he and Dillon debate Monday night at the Detroit Public Television studio in Wixom. It's the last scheduled Democratic debate before the Aug. 3 primary election.
A recent EPIC-MRA poll shows Dillon with a 10-point lead over Bernero in the two-way race. The poll surveyed 400 likely Democratic primary voters and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.9 percent. Four in 10 likely voters remain undecided.
Dillon is trying to bring them into his camp by showing he has a record of working in a bipartisan manner and pushing legislation that led to jobs. His latest ad, titled "Rowing," will begin airing Monday and run for at least two weeks on broadcast and cable stations statewide, especially in southeast Michigan, campaign spokesman T.J. Bucholz said. Dillon lives in Wayne County's Redford Township, which has given him a head start over Bernero in the Detroit area.
But Dillon also has had to deal with criticism from his first ad, which began running two weeks ago.
That ad featured him promoting "hire Michigan workers first" legislation and saying it's "morally bankrupt" for companies getting Michigan tax breaks to send jobs elsewhere. Dillon caught flak for saying he was promoting Michigan jobs while using AKPD Message and Media from Chicago to produce the ad, rather than a Michigan company.
AKPD also produced Dillon's second ad. Like the first one, it was filmed in Michigan by four Michigan companies and features Michigan residents, Bucholz said. Children shown in a classroom are the sons and daughters of campaign workers, and adults in the ad were campaign staff or volunteers, he said.
Dillon has changed some of the wording that opponents said was inaccurate in his first ad.
The first ad contained a caption that said Dillon had helped push through the 21st Century Jobs Fund as an announcer said, "As speaker, he brought both parties together to invest in job-creating startups."
The legislation became law while Dillon was a state lawmaker but before he became speaker. The new ad now says, "The 21st Century Jobs fund -- we did that in a bipartisan way to diversify the state's economy." It doesn't refer to what position he held when it became law.
The second ad still shows images of wind turbines while Dillon says "comprehensive energy reform that included renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives is creating a whole new industry in the state of Michigan."
After his first ad ran, critics said Dillon's clean energy record was marred by his support for building more coal-burning power plants in the state, although they gave him credit for backing 2008 legislation that set up benchmarks for increased renewable energy use.
Five Republicans also are running for governor.