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The Michigan Governor's Race: So Now What?

I normally don't follow the state's gubernatorial races with a whole lot of fervor, and darn sure not in January, but my ears did perk up a bit when I heard the announcement today that Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry has decided not to seek the top spot in 2010. Seems Cherry, who would've had to run while saddled with Gov. Jennifer Granholm's utterly dismal record, wasn't exactly ripping up the fundraising scene. (At least, though, he had the decency not to try to cash in on the failed terror attack on Christmas Day, unlike some others.)

On the Democratic side of the race, Cherry was widely thought to be the front runner. Now, with him out, the Dem primaries are wide open and looking like they could be a lot more interesting--though not necessarily inspiring. (OK, I'll admit that the New York Times-reading, Volvo-whipping, arugula-eating lefty in me wants to like new entry Hansen Clarke, but I've got serious questions about whether he's got the toughness for the job and, frankly, whether he'd have a snowball's chance in Aruba of winning.)

Meanwhile, the GOP is also trying to determine who represents its best shot at the governor's post, be that state AG Mike Cox, U.S. congressman Pete Hoekstra, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land or some other figure. But between Cox's old extramarital scandals and prior associations with Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, claims that Land succumbed to pressure from the Bush White House to wrongly purge voters from the state's rolls and Hoekstra just being Hoekstra,  I'm hard pressed to see how those on right feel any better right now about the horses they've got in this race than those on the left.

Yes, I know it's way too early to call this thing, but I'm still curious about your thoughts about the 2010 gov's race here in Michigan. Given how high stakes are for our state, the governor's race, while always important, is sure to come under even closer scrutiny from those here and around the country in 2010.

So what do you make of all this? Dem, Republican, Whig, Bull Moose, Independent, whatever--are you inspired by any of the particular candidates? Do you see in any of them real potential to turn around the state's fortunes? Or are we doomed to continue a search for quality leadership at the state level that, IMO, we have been starved for for many decades  now?

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