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Andy Dillon, Michigan's Next Governor?

Sunday's formal entry of Andy Dillon, the speaker of Michigan's House of Representatives, into the governor's race, isn't entirely surprising. The conservative Democrat has long been viewed by his party's establishment as their best bet to retain the office of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who has struggled in two terms to lead Michigan through a severe economic crisis.

The first challenge for Dillon, a lanky 48-year-old former investment banker, will be to win the confidence of the Democratic masses. To succeed, he must soothe the concerns of unions, a historically crucial Democratic constituency he has angered with proposals to restructure state employees' health insurance plans. He is Catholic and opposes abortion, which may be problematic for liberals in his party. He has reportedly raised at least $1 million in recent weeks. But raising the kind of money necessary for a credible campaign will be tricky in the current financial environment. He lives in a Detroit suburb, but must quickly build a presence beyond the state's largest media market.  It's somewhat early to pay serious attention to polls, and the cast of prospective Democratic and Republican candidates is still broad. Nevertheless, so far, the numbers are in Dillon's favor: 17% of respondents in a recent poll said they would vote for Dillon in the Democratic primary, scheduled for August. However, 45% of those respondents said they were essentially undecided about who they will support.

For now, the Republican field is led by several uninspiring candidates, including Michigan's attorney general, Mike Cox, and Mike Bouchard, the sheriff of Oakland County, Mich., a relatively prosperous Detroit suburb. One glimmer of hope for Republicans may be Rick Snyder, a venture capitalist and the former CEO of Gateway, the computer manufacturer. Snyder's popularity is surging, partly because of television ads he bought to run during the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics that build on the idea that the key to Michigan's turnaround is a break from professional politicians. The ads' punch line: “He's One Tough Nerd.”

In many ways, Michigan's governor's race reflects what's at stake for Democrats across the country this year. Nearly 40 states are scheduled to hold gubernatorial races this year, and Democrats hold most of those seats. Michigan is viewed as a toss-up for both major political parties. The stakes are especially high in Michigan, because the next governor will play a key role in the redrawing of legislative districts following the 2010 U.S. Census.

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  • 1


    Dillion is a snooze..I make a better interview..This is shameful...You need to select better personalities..i.e like me


    The chatterclass wants people to chatter about not another set of dead politicos...

  • 2

    I'd consider Rick. Is any of his family in politics? That's another thing MI doesn't need: another inherited political leader.

    Hopefully, this isn't the case for Rick..and by the looks of his resume he can fund his own campaign (no owing any favors in office). If so, he's got my vote!

    So what if he's a republican.


  • 3

    It'll be an interesting race to watch - not just for the result in this year's elections (which have the potential to be a shift in the landscape) but more so to see how 2012 is going to line up.

  • 4

    Michigan has lost more than 780,000 jobs since 2000. At over 15%, Michigan's unemployment rate is 60% higher than the national average.

    Michigan has lost more private sector jobs since the year 2000 than any other state in the country.

    So says

    I hope our next governor recognizes that he/she will have a lot of work to do in terms of improving the business climate in Michigan. Companies don't want to invest here b/c they see high business taxes, lots of regulation and a failing and underfunded education system. Check out the Turnaround Plan for ideas about getting us back on track.

  • 5

    To reinvent this state, REFORM is a must.

    Dillon's business experience is as strong as Snyder's, however, he's not a lifetime politician, but able to maneuver in the Legislative process.

    Already proven to cross both sides of the aisle, and not be purchased by big business....He's the most balanced candidate on the block.

  • 6

    What Michigan needs right now is a governor who can utilize ideas from both parties to help the economy. Dillon's ads might not have as catchy a byline as Snyder's, but who cares? I just want to see the job done. Looks like Dillon might have the expertise to actually do it.

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