[photogallerylink id=17365 align=left] Democrat Virg Bernero will face Republican Rick Snyder in the race for Governor of Michigan in November. With 37 percent of precincts reporting, Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, defeated House Speaker Andy Dillon, 59 percent to 41 percent. On the Republican side, Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder won the nomination over his four competitors. 

 Bernero, 46,  has been the mayor of the state capital of Lansing since 2006. Current Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm can’t run again because of term limits.

“The good news is, we won! Even though we were outspent, the people fought for the people’s agenda, and they achieved victory,” Bernero said, during his victory speech.

“Despite all the clutter of six other gubernatorial candidates running hard, voters heard our message loud and clear.  Working people count. Manufacturing and small businesses matter. The American dream is worth fighting for,” he said.

The 51-year-old Snyder introduced himself to voters by airing TV ads describing himself as “one tough nerd.” He regularly skipped televised debates with other Republicans and instead held public forums.

Snyder was an executive at Gateway Inc. during the 1990s before turning to private investment. Some voters said they liked his lack of political experience.

Snyder spoke to a cheering crowd of supporters Tuesday night.

“When we started a year or so ago, they said we had no chance. But we rallied together as a team, and we got in board with having a visions, a plan and an attitude of action to re-invent Michigan!” Snyder said.

The former presidenr of Gateway Inc., Snyder spent $6 million of his own money running ads noting he wasn’t a career politician and promising a different approach to righting the economically troubled state.

Snyder’s closest competitor appeared to be Congressman Pete Hoekstra, a nine term Congressman from Western Michigan. He was asked whether or not having a lot of money to self fund your campaign made a difference.

“We’ve learned that having money helps win a Republican nomination.  November will tell us whether it helps or hinders in winning a general election,” Hoekstra said.

As for the other three GOP candidates:  Mike Cox was in a distant third,  Mike Bouchard was in fourth, with Tom George came in fifth place.   

Lone Democratic challenger Andy Dillon conceded a couple hours after the polls closed, “I want you to know that I’ve called the Mayor of Lansing, to congratulate him on this election victory,” Dillon said. “I also want you to know, that I entered this race because I know that we can turn this great state around,” he said.

It appears that the anti-incumbent sentiment in Michigan has prevailed, according to WWJ pollster Tim Kiska who said he thinks voters have come forward to say they are fed up with the current political path for our state.

“You’ve got Rick Snyder, who’s never run for anything before — Virg Bernero, not quite coming out of nowhere, but knocking off the House Speaker, that’s pretty shocking,” Kiska said.

“And, also, a State Senator [Hansen Clarke] knocking off a longtime veteran Congresswoman, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick,” he said. More on this.

Governor Jennifer Granholm issued the following statement on Tuesday’s Democratic primary election results:
“Virg Bernero is tough and determined to fight for the things that matter most to Michigan families – diversifying Michigan’s economy, educating our citizens, and protecting people as we move through these tough times.  I look forward to working with him to continue moving Michigan forward.”

For either candidate, the challenge in Detroit may still be name recognition…

“Never heard of either one of them,” said John Austin of Detroit, waiting for a bus in downtown Detroit this morning. “I gotta study, I gotta do research.”

One Detroiter who has heard of them, Danny Nelson, says it should be an interesting race. “Bernero should have an egde, being a mayor of a city,” he said. ” I met him in Trenton last week.”

“Considering their backgrounds, whatever they say is for the people, I might give them the benefit of a doubt,” said Theodore Dixon. “We’ve got 13 weeks.”


Turnout was low in some areas and moderate in others on Tuesday.  The secretary of state estimated 1.7 million voters would turn out, about 23 percent.  More on this

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