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Gubernatorial Candidate El-Sayed Touts Public Health, Anti-Corporate Stand in First Ad

Abdul El-Sayed
Abdul El-Sayed
Democrat gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed

Democrat Abdul El-Sayed launched his first TV ad in the Michigan governor's race Tuesday, touting his work to protect public health while calling for "new blood" in Lansing.

The 30-second ad will air on broadcast and cable stations in the Detroit market. It makes El-Sayed the second of three Democrats to run ads, along with businessman Shri Thanedar.

The ad features El-Sayed — a young, dynamic speaker — inspiring a diverse group of supporters at a recent rally in Detroit. He talks about rebuilding the city's health department, which he directed for about a year-and-a-half before entering the gubernatorial primary. There, the doctor says, he stood up to some of the biggest corporate polluters in the state and addressed lead exposure in schools.

"I learned then that politicians' doors don't open for people like you and me. They only open for the corporate paychecks they take in," El-Sayed said. "Who here believes that we need blood in places like Lansing and D.C.? That we can have the kind of Michigan that dignifies all of us?"

Among those shown in the ad are social justice activists Shaun King — a visible figure in the Black Lives Matter movement — and Mari Copeny, a 10-year-old girl who is known as "Little Miss Flint" in her hometown that is still recovering from a water crisis. The ad urges viewers to join the "people's summer" and visit a website to volunteer for El-Sayed's campaign.

El-Sayed said in a statement that the campaign is about people coming together to "break the chokehold that corporations and millionaires have had on our politics. That's why we are asking real people to join us for the People's Summer — a movement building to bring government back to your country's ideals: for the people, by the people."

The ad buy is for $150,000 for an unspecified number of weeks. It comes after Thanedar has spent millions of his own money on a months-long ad campaign that has pulled him to about even with former legislative leader Gretchen Whitmer in some recent polling. El-Sayed has lagged behind but has support from within the party's more liberal wing, while she has secured backing from unions, the women's advocacy organization Emily's List and many elected Democrats. The liberal group Democracy for America endorsed El-Sayed last week.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder cannot run again due to term limits. The GOP primary fields includes state Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, state Sen. Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines.

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