The Free Press has a short article discussing the race and the impact of the weekend conventions on shaping the race:
"I don't think these party conventions are a huge deal," said Lansing political consultant Robert Kolt. "But when you're at this point, these are the people you need to help launch a campaign."
So, who's running and who's thinking about running and who's trying to get their name out there to get some free publicity? Wikipedia offers this field of candidates and prospects testing the waters for possible bids:
- Lieutenant Governor John D. Cherry
- State House Speaker Andy Dillon
- Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano
- Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee
- Congressman Bart Stupak
- former Speaker of the House Curtis Hertel
- former Flint Mayor Don Williamson* (who just resigned under threat of recall)
Also said to be considering a run are former Michigan State University football head coach George Perles (who must be like 1,000 years old) and Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel (who? a county sheriff for Governor? what's next, dog catcher?). Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer ruled out a gubernatorial run on November 20, 2008 despite decent polling last summer showing him outperforming the Lt. Governor in hypothetical match ups with DeVos and Land.
Without Archer, the Democrats seem to lack a 'superstar' with name recognition across the state. So far, the field is uninspiring to Democrats I talk to, with many alarmed that the milquetoast Cherry could even be considered a "front runner." It almost makes you wonder if outside those term-limited politicians who have nothing to lose, the rest of the Democratic Party has decided it's just not their year and are basically ceding it to the GOP.
Early reports had 2006 gubernatorial loser Dick DeVos trying to elbow any competition out of the race. But when the defeated DeVos decided not to get his billionaire butt bounced by the "overpaid" and unwashed masses a 2nd time, the race opened up for the GOP. Having effectively stonewalled the Governor's agenda for 8 years and blamed her for the economic mess and endless budget battles, the GOP looks ripe to pick off the seat.
With lust in his heart, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox was the first candidate to join the whole affair when he let his eyes wander to the Governor's mansion, forming an exploratory campaign last fall. Also officially in the mix is Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. Other candidates might include:
- State Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop
- Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard
- Domino's Pizza CEO David Brandon
- Congressman Peter Hoekstra (said to be speaking at the Barry Co. Lincoln Day dinner)
- State Senator Wayne Kuipers
- Congresswoman Candice Miller
- Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson
- State Senator Tom George
The coming days and weeks will likely shirt the landscape even more as we find out who's in and who's out. Chances are that the party faithful will find some things to like and a lot not to like about the current crop of candidates.