Donald Lambro

Bouchard's resume is impressive. He began as a cop on the beat who authored Michigan's Sex Offender Registry. He went on to win 14 elections, serving in the state Senate, where he became the minority floor leader, pushing through one of the state's largest tax cuts ever, and then was elected the top law-enforcement officer in the state's second largest county (1.3 million people) with more than 60 percent of the vote.

He made a name for himself as a national homeland-security leader who went to New York to work in the rubble after 9/11 and then brought assistance to New Orleans' victims in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In an interview last week, Bouchard spoke confidently of his chances of beating Stabenow, whom he describes as a do-nothing liberal senator who has no record of accomplishment beyond voting against the interests of her state. "She doesn't cast a big shadow in Washington," he said.

"Debbie has been in Washington six years, and the only thing she has done herself is get a federal building named," Bouchard told me.

"The issues in this campaign will be jobs in Michigan's economy and her ineffectiveness as senator. She should be helping employers here to create jobs, but she has a 0 percent voting score from the National Federation of Independent Business, the small-business lobby, and a 30 percent score from the National Association of Manufacturers," he said.

"She voted against every tax cut to help the economy," he said. "She has favored the liberal wing of her party instead of looking after the needs of Michigan and its workers. When I go to Washington, I will be the senator from Michigan, not the Republican from Michigan."

Michigan's workers are hurting. That's why business executive Dick DeVos, who has made economic recovery his No. 1 issue, is running ahead of Granholm. Bouchard says he will work closely with DeVos in the campaign to coordinate their message of economic revival. Whatever needs to be done in Congress to create jobs in Michigan, he will do, he said.

Notably, he doesn't see a senator's job as just working on legislation, but rather as an aggressive advocate for Michigan and its manufacturing workforce. "I would have no compunction talking to any employer that was thinking about bringing jobs to my state," he said.

Political translation: Debbie Stabenow has one tough fight ahead of her in November.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.