A Public Service Announcement

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

This year is going to be a massive election year in Michigan, and probably a total disaster. But that means we "political insiders" on ATK will have plenty to talk about as Michigan's political season gets under way. Stay tuned for half-assery and mockery.

In brief, up for election this year:

  • The Governor
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Attorney General
  • All 15 members of Michigan's Congressional delegation
  • All 38 State Senators, 31 of whom are term-limited and unable to run again
  • All 110 State Representatives, 35 of whom are term-limited
As you can see, this will be an unmitigated disaster. The 31 open Senate seats will force competitive races between State Reps, some of whom are not term-limited, thus actually potentially opening up more House seats than the 35 already open.

The race for Governor is already, a week into the New Year, turned interesting. Democratic forerunner (and current Lieutenant Governor) John Cherry just announced his withdrawal yesterday, as Bob astutely pointed out. This nearly guarantees that Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will end up entering the race, seeing himself as the only Democrat able to run against and beat a Republican this election cycle. Virg potentially faces former State Rep and health care nonprofit manager John Freeman(who??) and current State Rep Alma Wheeler Smith.

The Lansing Rumor Mill says to look out for one or both of these folks to enter the race because of Cherry's withdrawal: U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, and former Congressman David Bonior. Bonior ran with Alma Smith a cycle ago on the Extremely Liberal Wing of the Dem Party ticket. The Stabenow rumor comes amidst speculation that former GOP Governor John Engler is looking to move back to Michigan to run against Debbie is 2012. Debbie may allegedly decide that Governor is the best move for her, thus most likely sacrificing another Dem seat in the U.S. Senate, which Engler will most assuredly win. He is a political animal, and the infrastructure he created still functions (though having gotten rusty in his extended absence as Executive Director of the U.S. Manufacturers Association). But again, these are just rumors right now. The point is that Cherry's withdrawal does more to the Dems than just help Virg. It opens-up all sorts of possibilities and problems as the Dems search for a candidate that can somehow retain a Democratic Governorship despite Granholm's....performance.

As Bob pointed out in the comments section, I forgot one of the biggest wild cards: The current Speaker of the House, Andy Dillon (D - Redford Twp.). He was considering entering the race as an Independent, but again, with Cherry's withdrawal, the question deepens. Not only is it will he run, but will he run, and as an Indy? Or a Dem? Oh, sweet drama...

As for the Republicans, Ann Arbor businessman and former Gateway computers CEO Rick Snyder can be pretty much written-off as the Guv candidate. This leaves an interesting race between Congressman Pete Hoekstra (yeah, that Hoekstra), current Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. Hoekstra has been under fire from even some of the folks in his West Michigan ultra dutch reform conservative base for his fundraising letter attempting to capitalize on an averted disaster to raise money for Governor. Hoekstra is current the GOP frontrunner in Michigan, with Cox a very close #2. Bouchard's #3 is not that distant, and there are still rumors all over Lansing about Congressperson Candace Miller and current Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land entering the GOP primary for Guv as well, but again, those are just rumors, and those ones have been sort of mainstay rumors. They have a truth of their own, even if they never happen.

More to come. It'll be a fun year...


Bob 10:54 AM  

A few items:

1) Cherry's exit may mean a whole bunch more folks enter, which may be a good thing.

2) If Stabenow runs for Gov (I doubt it) and wins, she gets to appoint her own successor until the next 2 year cycle rolls around.

3) Land is running as Bouchard's running mate - where you been?

4) "...and probably a total disaster."

I am not sure of that yet, the R's running for Gov all have baggage, especially who I consider the front-runner - Cox.

5) I also would not count out Snyder. The R's might want another guy who can self fund his campaign, (like DeVos (R-Blackwater)) while they spend their limited funds on the State Senate, etc.

Bob 11:10 AM  

6) You forgot Dillon's possible entry into the race.

Smitty 11:17 AM  

Land is running as Bouchard's running mate - where you been?

Stream of consciousness typing. No proof reading. This is what one can expect from an ATK political post.

especially who I consider the front-runner - Cox.

I agree with you that Cox will end up the party's nominee. Hoekstra will appeal to the wingnuttery and Cox will emerge as the, uh, "moderate" of the three heaviest hitters. Cox and Bouchard have the same rumored-and-substantiated fidelity problems, though Bouchard is rumored to have had quadruple (literally) the fidelity issues.

I also would not count out Snyder

None of the Republicans I have spoken to want him. He has Devos' problem: people with that much money don't resonate with voters. And Gateway was a big outsourcer.

Smitty 11:18 AM  

You forgot Dillon's possible entry into the race.

Ah! See? That's why it takes more than 1 of us to collaborate here. I did forget about that, and that's huge. The Big Question is: does he still go Indy? Or Dem? That'd be a Hell of a Dem primary: Dillon v Bernero!

Bob 11:46 AM  

"He was considering entering the race as an Independent."

He has been quoted as saying he will run as a Dem.

Mrs. Smitty 1:59 PM  

Bonior's out - he doesn't live in Michigan anymore and has been quoted as not wanting to do it again.

Greatest - and by that I mean funniest - rumored addition to the race...

RTW SPT Michael G. Sak =)

I guess he has nothing else to do.

steves 3:14 PM  

Wow, I hadn't realized there was that much up for grabs. Some initial thoughts. I was disappointed when Cherry dropped out, as he was/is a decent guy and, IMO, had good experience and was where I wanted on most issues. I like Virg Bernero, too and could probably get behind him, but I am not sure where stands on some larger policy issues. I can't stand Stabenow. She has pushed some idiotic ideas and just doesn't seem to be all that hard of a worker. I won't vote for her. No way, no how.

On the other side, I don't care for Hoekstra all that much, so I doubt I could get behind him. I like Cox and think he has done a good job as AG, so he would be my first choice, so far. I don't know enough about any of the others, except maybe for Bouchard, so this will be interesting to see who comes out.

Engler just needs to stay gone.

Smitty 3:14 PM  

Bonior's out

Bummer. The scenario there would be Stabenow for Guv in 2010, and if she won, she appoints Bonior to her seat, who can beat Engler in 2012.

Bob 5:08 PM  

"She has pushed some idiotic ideas and just doesn't seem to be all that hard of a worker."

The hard worker part, I totally disagree with. As far as the idiotic ideas, well that is your positon on issues, so I won't argue with that.

steves 7:29 PM  

What legislation has she gotten passed? What has she done? How has she helped Michigan? What kind of influence does she have?

Maybe she is some kind of behind the scenes power broker, but she just doesn't give the impression of getting shit done. Carl Levin, who I disagree with on many issues, at least wields some influence and advocates for Michigan. I shouldn't say that she does nothing, but I think that we can do better.

She did push for the return of the fairness doctrine. I'd rather she did nothing if that is the kind of stuff she wants.

Mr Furious 2:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Furious 2:11 AM  

Why did Cherry bail? You gotta figure he's got the Traverse City vote locked up...

Was it because I unsubscribed to his deluge of e-marketing?

Smitty 8:43 AM  

Why did Cherry bail?

Couldn't and didn't raise the money he needed.

I figure, though, that there is something else at play here. Some deal, some request, some subterfuge...besides for piss-poor polling numbers maybe finally convincing the party that he just had too much Granholm stank on him.

steves 8:59 AM  

Good point, Mr. F, I didn't remember that. She also supported a total ban on Great Lakes drilling (as did many), that was so totally lacking in science, logic, and reality, it was infuriating.

Smitty 9:55 AM  

One more update:

There are folks in small Dem circles, starting with the Governor's utterance this morning of "a non-politician could win," who are saying Denise Illitch (Mike's wife, owner of Little Ceasars, the Tigers and the Red Wings).

steves 10:00 AM  

I also heard Joe Dumars as a choice. I don't believe that a gov. needs to be a person with a long political pedigree, but it does seem that candidates tend to get raked over the coals for a "lack of experience."

Mr Furious 10:37 AM  

I think Dumars and other non-pols have a harder time winning executive spots without a clear history of relevant experience.

Sopor 6:41 PM  

Thanks for the reminder to update my voter registration to Mount Pleasant!

Anonymous,  2:13 PM  

Synder, if he can pull this off, would put Washtenaw into play, unlike ever before.


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