Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Michigan Governor Race

Race of the Day

Michigan Governor

August 31, 2010
63 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Open
2008 Presidential Result: Blue State (Midwest)

Outlook: Likely Republican

Before the current recession strongly hit the entire country, Michigan's economy was already lagging behind. With mounting job losses and tremendous voter angst, the Wolverine State appears very likely to vote for change in the Governor's office, after eight years of Democrat control.

Current Governor Jennifer Granholm is term-limited, and has very high disapproval poll numbers. Her long-time heir apparent in the 2010 race was supposed to be her Lt. Governor John Cherry, but behind in the polls, and struggling to raise money, the balloon of the Cherry campaign popped in January of this year, when he withdrew from the race. While many Democrats were mentioned as potential candidates, it turned into a two way contest that was won by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. He was considered more liberal, especially on social issues, than his defeated opponent, State House Speaker Andy Dillon.

The GOP field was even larger as aspiring Governors sensed an opportunity. Wealthy businessman Rick Snyder was not very well known at all, but he spent heavily on television advertisements, including a highly touted spot that ran during the Super Bowl, and finished atop a field that had included the state's Attorney General, a former Republican U.S. Senate nominee, and a veteran Congressman. Snyder was also considered the most moderate of the candidates in the field and may have benefited from a split conservative vote. Others supported him out of pragmatism, as while all the Republicans were shown leading both Democrats, Snyder was the most ahead.

In any event, Snyder came out of the primary with great momentum and has appeared to be pretty successful in uniting a party that is hungry for victory. Labor unions and minority voters have helped Michigan Democrats succeed in recent years, but polls now show that Snyder is uncommonly popular in state, compared to any political candidate, and leads Bernero. Rasmussen Reports immediate post primary poll had put the Republican ahead by 12 points, but more recently two local Detroit media polls put Snyder ahead by 20 or more, and past the 50 percent threshold.

Rick Snyder is a first time candidate who has pushed his image as "one tough nerd" who has the knowledge and ability to turn the state's economy around. His crossover appeal to Democrats and Independents seems real and if nothing changes dramatically in this race, this could be the biggest political triumph for Nerds, since the Alpha Betas won control over the Greek Council.

Snyder campaign link:


2010 Governor races predicted thus far: 5 D, 13 R
Predicted Gubernatorial totals thus far: 12 D, 19 R