State Watch

Michigan heavyweights to face off for governor in November

Facebook: Bill Schuette
Two well-funded and high-profile contenders will battle for the right to replace term-limited Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in November after winning their respective party’s nominations on Tuesday.
Former state House Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D) won the Democratic nomination, fueled by a substantial financial advantage over two challengers who tried to position themselves to her left.
With 27 percent of the precincts reporting, Whitmer won 50 percent of the vote. She outlasted Abdul El-Sayed (D), the former health director for the city of Detroit, and businessman Shri Thanedar (D).
On the Republican side, Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) outpaced Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R). Schuette had support from President Trump, while Calley counted Snyder among his supporters.
Schuette took 51 percent of the vote, beating Calley’s 25 percent.
The results set up a November showdown between two heavyweights who will offer starkly different paths ahead for Michigan. An Emerson College poll conducted last month, which also showed both Whitmer and Schuette leading their primaries, hinted at a tough race: Whitmer led Schuette by a 43 percent to 36 percent margin.
Democrats have made states like Michigan a top priority, both because of the role it plays in the electoral college and in the decennial redistricting process, which the next governor will oversee.
History suggests Michiganders will be in the mood to hand control to the outside party. Democrats and Republicans have traded control of the governorship since the 1980s, when Jim Blanchard (D) succeeded William Milliken (R) in the executive mansion.  
The two races illustrated the divergent paths the two parties have taken in the last decade or so, and to some extent the results of primary contests around the country this year.
Republicans have increasingly nominated candidates favored by national factions, whether those who appear on Fox News frequently or those who manage to capture Trump’s attention.
Schuette is one of seven gubernatorial candidates Trump has endorsed this year, alongside GOP nominee Brian Kemp in Georgia and Rep. Ron DeSantis, who now leads the Republican field in Florida.
On the other, Democrats have largely — but not entirely — chosen candidates who win support from more traditional Democratic constituencies. Whitmer had support from the United Auto Workers and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, while El-Sayed made a late push thanks to an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
In states like Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Nevada and Ohio, Democratic primary voters have picked the candidate closer to the local party over contenders backed by some national progressive groups. 
Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Ron DeSantis
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