As the primary is only three weeks away, the candidates are fighting for an advantage against the other men seeking their respective party’s nomination. Peter Luke of MLive suggests that the thing they are fighting more than their opponents is voter frustration and apathy.
We start off this week with the Democrats. Andy Dillon picked up the endorsement of former Detroit mayor and Dickinson Wright chairman emeritus Dennis Archer. [The Detroit News].
In the meanwhile, Virg Bernero, appearing at a visit to Siena Heights University in Adrian, said that he’s a bulletproof candidate: [The Daily Telegram/Adrian].
“The two main candidates are largely unknown, Speaker of the House Andy Dillon and myself,” Bernero said, but he added that a new poll conducted for his campaign sampling 600 likely primary voters showed Dillon to be the more vulnerable candidate.
“The two Achilles’ heels that my opponent had — and I have no Achilles’ heels, really, we tried to test some — but he has two that are deadly,” Bernero said. “One is that he’s anti-choice (on abortion) and anti-stem cell research, and that is deadly in a Democratic primary, come to find out. And, two, his corporate raider, corporate boardroom experience of running people off and shipping jobs overseas. They’re almost equally negative and very toxic.”
I want to think that was a joke. Yeah, it had to be a joke, right?
About those Achilles’ heels, Laura Berman of The Detroit News agrees with Bernero that Dillon’s pro-life/anti-embryonic stem cell research stances will matter.
But when they will matter may be another issue. A poll released Tuesday has Dillon ahead of Bernero 35 percent to 15 percent, with 50 percent undecided. Of course, wait a day or two and those numbers will likely be closer. [Detroit Free Press].
The news was heavier on the GOP side this week. (That’s been the case more often lately. More candidates, closer race). The party is certainly confident that whomever wins its primary will be the next governor. Said State Republican Party chairman Ron Weiser:
“People are going to want a change. We saw that in 2008, and Obama took advantage of it,” Weiser told reporters in a conference call. “And certainly as Republicans we’re going to take advantage of the same thing.”
He added “I know there’s always the possibility that something strange can happen, but we certainly are overwhelming favorites now to take the governorship.”
The same poll mentioned earlier shows Pete Hoekstra, Rick Snyder and Mike Cox in a dead heat, all with 18 percent, while Mike Bouchard is a distant 9 percent and Dr. Tom George at one percent.
It should be said that polling numbers have been all over the place in this election, so, for both races, take them for what they are worth. It’s the score at the end of the third quarter. Might be the result, might not.
Bouchard’s people say the numbers are way off. His Minister of Information campaign manager Ted Prill said the campaigns internal polling shows Bouchard tied for the lead with 19 percent, with Cox and Snyder polling at 16 and 12 percent, respectively.
Bouchard has been more active in advocating the GOP dogma, coming out in support of both a Michigan equivalent to the controversial Arizona immigration law (again) and making Michigan a right-to-work state.
He will speak to a Tea Party forum next week about the Arizona immigration law. He wrote a newspaper op-ed and released a commercial about the right-to-work issue. Jeff Cranson of The Grand Rapids Press asks whether this is Bouchard’s Hail Mary pass.
Speaking of the Tea Party, the Livingston Daily says they have the GOP’s attention.
Michigan’s “tea party” groups could affect dozens of local races, as well as those for the state Legislature. Making an impact in Michigan’s gubernatorial race will be harder, but the enthusiasm of newly minted political activists could help pick a Republican nominee, and the field knows it.
Attorney General Mike Cox, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard all have courted the “tea party” vote. Although Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder is seen by some as the most moderate of the group, his business success and his status as the only nonpolitician helps him, Ballenger said.
Pete Hoekstra was in Holland with President Barack Obama and Gov. Jennifer Granholm for the groundbreaking of a new battery plant. He used the opportunity to criticize Obama and the stimulus bill, which at least in part will fund the the new LG Chem plant.
“If you take a look around, you will see companies that were built by individuals and families,” Hoekstra said in a YouTube video he posted on his campaign website. “They have never received a government stimulus package.”
Of course, the companies he’s speaking of weren’t offered one and who knows what they would have done if the money was on the table. (I’d like to see the company that says “We’d like to build a new plant in your state/district/city, but please, do not offer us any tax breaks or other economic incentives! Give that money back to the people!”)
Of course, Hoekstra has been attacked in ads from unnamed entities for supporting the stimulus bill, which he did not vote for. When he was criticized in the Democratic debate for not supporting the bill, he responded via Twitter:
Democrats blasting me for voting against stimulus package last year. At least THEY got the facts right that I voted no!
Except for his appearance in the GOP debate earlier this week, Mike Cox stayed out of the news, but for his official duties, in which he again slammed the Obama Administration for filing suit to block the aforementioned Arizona immigration bill. His office will file an amicus brief in support of the bill.
At a campaign appearance in Owosso, Rick Snyder said simply fixing Michigan isn’t enough. To compete, Michigan needs to reinvent itself. He also talked about the troubling trend of college graduates leaving the state to find work.
Finally, yes, four of the five GOP candidates debated yet again this week, with Snyder opting to hold a town meeting in Grand Rapids instead. [WOOD-TV Video].
The candidates that were there didn’t inspire confidence, said the Detroit Free Press:
Tuesday night, in the last debate before the August primary, voters got a better look at the distinctions among the candidates than they had before. But it’s also clear that some of the candidates still cling to unrealistic schemes for navigating Michigan’s way to long-term solvency.
Only state Sen. Tom George, for example, seems to understand that the tax cuts proposed by Attorney General Mike Cox and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard will bankrupt the state. That won’t attract jobs any better than the current onerous business tax environment.
Cox also continues to indulge overly pollyannaish solutions to the gridlock in Lansing.
Cox — and nearly everyone else — fails to explain how [bipartisanship] could now be accomplished with term-limited, politically entrenched legislators who so far haven’t budged toward compromise.
In Supreme Court election news … there isn’t any. Today is the deadline for non-party affiliated (i.e. independent) candidates to submit their paperwork to be put on the ballot. As of 2pm, no one has, according to the Board of Elections. The remaining candidates will be nominated by parties at their political conventions in late August.