Rick Snyder: A Moderate Republican for Michigan?
Rick Snyder is running a mostly non-ideological campaign for governor, touting his competence, business acumen and outsider status. It's a very bad time to be a Republican moderate. But, Snyder might win the nomination tomorrow anyway.
Ed Kilgore of 538 has a post pointing out what I think is one of the most notable questions in tomorrow's primaries: Can a moderate win the Republican nomination for governor in Michigan?
Rick Snyder, former CEO of Gateway computers, is the candidate I'm talking about. If Snyder simply had a reputation or a history as a moderate, the story wouldn't be all that interesting. Plenty of Republican candidates with moderate histories are running well in primaries this year -- Meg Whitman in California, Karen Handel in Georgia, Bill Haslam in Tennessee -- it's just that they're running well by campaigning as conservatives. Snyder is different.
He's running a mostly non-ideological campaign, touting his competence, business acumen and outsider status. What's more, he's affirmatively associating himself with some of Michigan's most well-known moderate Republicans -- Republicans who haven't demonstrated much loyalty to their party lately. That includes former Gov. William Milliken, who's made a habit of criticizing Republican nominees for president, and former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, who supported a Democrat for his old congressional seat in 2008 over the Republican who had ousted him in a 2006 primary.
Polls show Snyder in a tight three-way race with U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Attorney General Mike Cox. If Snyder wins, the lesson won't be that it's a great time to be a Republican moderate. Instead, three dynamics in Michigan have given Snyder a good chance even though it's a very bad time to be a Republican moderate.
First, Michigan has an open primary, so Snyder can seek independent and Democratic voters. That's key. If Florida had an open primary, Charlie Crist might still be a Republican.
Second, Hoekstra and Cox are splitting the conservative vote in a state with no primary runoff. I'm skeptical Snyder could break 50% against either Hoekstra or Cox, but he doesn't have to.
Third, Snyder, thanks to his personal wealth, has spent the most campaign cash. As Meg Whitman proved, money can do a great job hiding an ideological mismatch between a candidate and voters.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Will Trump Kill Criminal Justice Reform’s Momentum?2 hours ago
Judge Blocks Texas, for Now, From Removing Planned Parenthood as a Provider for the Poor2 days ago
Maryland Legislative Staffer Loses Job After Real News Reveals He Owns Fake News Site2 days ago
RNC Elects Michigan GOP Chair Romney McDaniel as New Leader2 days ago
Detroit Joins Literacy Lawsuit Against State2 days ago
Feds Give Pennsylvania More Time to Comply With REAL ID Law2 days ago