LANSING - New television ads were scheduled to begin airing Tuesday in Michigan's secretary of state race, with the Nov. 2 election just two weeks away.
Democrat Jocelyn Benson began running her first commercial statewide aimed at boosting her visibility with voters. It says she would ''take on anyone who tries to deceive voters'' if elected secretary of state.
The Michigan Republican Party said it would begin airing an ad that questions Benson's political ties and policies. Benson, an associate law professor at Wayne State University, is running against Republican Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson in the race to replace term-limited Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.
The Johnson campaign has not aired television ads of its own but has been supported by Michigan Republican Party advertising.
The latest Republican Party ad alludes to a former Benson campaign staffer who has been connected to a failed effort to get candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot by a group that called itself ''The Tea Party.'' Republicans say the effort, which had ties to Democrats, was a fraud aimed at tricking voters.
The so-called ''Tea Party'' group was not allowed on the Michigan ballot and the effort is under investigation for possible fraud.
Mike McGuinness worked on the Benson campaign until April. In August, he resigned as chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party after questions were raised about the party's involvement in the ''Tea Party'' effort. His resignation statement did not mention the group.
The Detroit Free Press has reported McGuinness recruited at least one of the potential ''Tea Party'' candidates.
The Benson campaign called the Republican ad misleading and inaccurate. The campaign noted that Benson had called for an investigation into the ''Tea Party'' effort in late August.
Three third-party candidates also are running for secretary of state: Green Party candidate John Anthony La Pietra, U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate Robert Gale and Libertarian Party candidate Scotty Boman.