Sabato's Crystal Ball

Michigan Governor 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Likely R

Democratic candidates:Virg Bernero, mayor of Lansing

Republican candidates: Rick Snyder, co-founder of Ardesta

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: September 16, 2010

Something truly remarkable is happening in Michigan. The Republican nominee, businessman Rick Snyder, is romping to a landslide victory in this normally Democratic state. The Democratic nominee, Virg Bernero, is burdened by low funding and the unpopularity of term-limited Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and President Obama. Snyder’s likely victory is a linchpin of the broad group of Republican victories we are likely to see in normally Democratic states such as Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If Snyder governs well, he could be a surprise pick for vice president in 2012 or a future presidential candidate.

Update: June 3, 2010

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) is term limited, and also very unpopular. The main reason is crystal clear. Michigan was in a one-state recession while the nation was prosperous; now that the country is in deep economic trouble, Michigan—the home of the decimated car industry—is in a full-fledged depression. Granholm’s lieutenant governor, John Cherry, was on track to carry the Democratic banner, and shocked everyone by withdrawing—quite possibly because he correctly assessed his November chances. The Democratic nominee will be a relatively unknown figure, perhaps House Speaker Andy Dillon or local official Virg Bernero. It will be a surprise if the Republicans don’t win this governorship. Smelling victory, they have a highly competitive primary ahead, featuring Congressman Pete Hoekstra, state Attorney General Mike Cox, wealthy businessman Rick Snyder, and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. Snyder has been making gains based on his appeal to independents, and Michigan’s party primaries allow independents to vote. LEANS REPUBLICAN TAKEOVER.

Update: October 8, 2009

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) is term limited, and also very unpopular. The main reason is crystal clear. Michigan was in a one-state recession while the nation was prosperous; now that the country is in deep economic trouble, Michigan–the home of the decimated car industry–is in a full-fledged depression. Granholm’s lieutenant governor, John Cherry, will carry the Democratic banner, and he’ll be burdened by Granholm but helped by the Blue nature of the state. The Republicans, smelling victory, have a wild primary ahead with a half-dozen qualified candidates, including state Attorney General Mike Cox (the frontrunner in most polls), Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, and Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is mounting a vigorous challenge. The GOP primary outcome is anyone’s guess, but if they hold together and don’t fracture, Republicans will be at least slight favorites to regain power in this critical Midwest state.

Update: March 19, 2009

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI): OPEN SEAT. For a fairly solid Democratic state, Michigan is featuring a free-for-all to succeed term-limited Gov. Granholm, including some competitive GOP candidates. Partly, this is because Gov. Granholm has been unpopular, and partly, it is because poor Michigan has been in a one-state recession for years, thanks to the decline of the American auto industry. (Michigan finally has company, and at least 45 other states are considered officially to be in recession.) The logical Democratic nominee is Lt. Gov. John Cherry, but because he carries the Granholm burden, some Democratic primary voters may give others a chance, assuming that some of the many party officeholders floating their names actually enter the primary. One prominent name being touted to oppose Cherry in the Democratic primary is state House Speaker Andy Dillon. On the Republican side, the natural frontrunners are Attorney General Mike Cox, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, Congresswoman and former Secretary of State Candice Miller, and Congressmen Pete Hoekstra and Mike Rogers. A half a dozen others have hats ready to toss into the ring, too. This will be one of the wildest contests in the nation, and without question, it is a TOSS-UP.