An ad from Michigan Congressional candidate Trevor Thomas began running on all major television networks in the state Tuesday as the Democratic primary campaign enters its final week.
Thomas, a former spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, is competing against Steve Pestka, a former state representative and circuit court judge, in the election on August 7. The winner will challenge Congressman Justin Amash, a young, first-term Tea Party favorite, this November. Republicans have represented the 3rd District covering Grand Rapids since 1976.
In the 30-second spot, his first and only before the primary, Thomas' mother, a former autoworker, highlights her son's economic plan and the key differences between his positions and those of Pestka. Thomas supports reproductive freedom and stem cell research, she says, while his opponent "voted against stem cell research, and opposed a woman's right to choose, even in the case of rape and incest."
"Yes, he's my son, but I'm supporting Trevor because he'll fight for what's right," she says.
The ad does not mention that Thomas is gay. Pestka has said that he supports civil unions, but LGBT issues in general have not been a focus in the race, where voters are primarily concerned about the economy.
According to a campaign news release, Thomas has received support from almost 3,000 donors, most of whom have donated less than $100, and he has not accepted any PAC money. While Pestka has $658,961 cash on hand compared to $144,989 for Thomas, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports the advantage is "entirely attributable to self-funding" in the form of a personal loan of $570,000 to his campaign.
Thomas has received some high-profile endorsements from figures including former governor turned Current TV host Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, and Cate Edwards.