First of all, whatever your party affiliation, the results of both gubernatorial primaries are a win for Michigan. The two major party nominees are both relative political outsiders, which can only be a breath of fresh air when compared to past elections. People are fed up with political insiders, so for either party to run with one of them (be they in Lansing or Washington) came with great political risk.
First, for the Democrats’ side, not too many people wanted to try to carry the mantle of term-limited Jennifer Granholm as the nominee. The seeming successor, Lt. Gov. John Cherry, bowed out of running when it was clear he couldn’t escape Granholm’s record. Several others also considered running and subsequently left, leaving only House Speaker Andy Dillon and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. Dillon tried to run on his record as a businessman, but he supported many of Granholm’s tax increase plans over the last few years, something which the voters haven’t forgotten. Bernero, with union support in hand since even the unions realized a Granholm-backer was a losing proposition, easily carried the day for the Democrats.
For the Republicans, it first looked like it would be a toss-up between Attorney General Mike Cox and second district Rep. Pete Hoekstra, with Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard a distant third. (Tom George, although a state senator from Kalamazoo County, stayed widely unknown outside his district.) Rick Snyder, a Battle Creek native and Ann Arbor businessman, was barely in the conversation when he first announced his candidacy. But suddenly, he started to establish himself and his ideas, even though he skipped many of the debates. Snyder has come out quite bluntly and stated that the political system in Lansing is broken. It’s that rather direct style which won me over, as I cast my ballot for Snyder. They may call him “One Tough Nerd” or any of a number of nicknames, but as far as I’m concerned, his attitude is what is needed to turn around a state government on the brink of financial ruin. We were wrong to turn down a businessman four years ago, and it would be foolish to do so again.
Now there might be a good argument for Bernero. The thing that worries me is that he seems beholden to the unions, which haven’t really been all that beneficial in making for a prosperous Michigan economy. I highly doubt he would support the cuts in government that have to be made and the undoing of taxes and regulations which have all but caused business to prosper elsewhere. And I cannot in good faith support a candidate who won’t take on these economic realities head-on.
As for the other major race in which I voted today, I strongly believe Tim Walberg should win in his rematch against Mark Schauer. Schauer’s unyielding support for liberal policies wasn’t what the voters in district 7 wanted in 2008, and thus they should relish the opportunity for making another one-term representative. (Although the irony being Walberg would get to serve two non-consecutive terms should he win, but there’s a lot of Obama remorse spreading.)