The Detroit News reports Attorney General Mike Cox and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra are locked in a dead heat for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to an internal poll released today by the Cox campaign.

The survey of 400 likely GOP primary voters taken May 25-27 shows Cox and Hoekstra tied at 21 % with Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder at 18 percent, and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard at 10 percent. State Sen. Tom George registered just 2% of those surveyed.

Neil Newhouse, a spokesman for the Washington DC-based company which conducted the poll, Public Opinion Strategies, said Cox’s attack ads against Hoekstra cut into Hoekstra’s lead, which stood at 13 points in an earlier survey.

If you think there’s no bad blood between Hoekstra and Cox, look at the response Hoekstra spokeswoman Sara Sendek: “Well, Mike Cox has been dishonest with his ads, so how can we expect him to be honest with an internal poll from his campaign about the ads?”

Sendek added, “Cox determined that he cannot win by convincing voters to support him, and in a desperate attempt to improve his poll numbers, launched a smear campaign against his opponents. … It comes as no shock that Cox would receive a temporary bump in the polls from attack ads. But we are confident overall these attack ads will lead to a negative effect on Cox’s image as it becomes more clear to voters that there is no substance behind his message.”

The campaign sure is warming up!

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