For those of you who regularly read my posts, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero's easy win over state House Speaker Andy Dillon in the Aug. 3 Democratic primary for governor should come as no surprise.
In my May 20 installment, www.examiner.com/examiner/x-34604-Wayne-County-Elections-2010-Examiner~y2010m5d20-Smiths-withdrawal-likely-to-help-Bernero, I noted that the third candidate in the primary, state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, withdrew on May 10, a day before the filing deadline. Smith said she dropped out of the race to avoid splitting the liberal vote with Bernero and enabling the more conservative Dillon to win.
While Dillon initially led in the polls due to advantages in name recognition and fundraising, I said at the time that Smith's withdrawal might well give Bernero a decisive advantage in a primary dominated by progressive voters, and that proved to be the case.
Endorsed by most of the unions, as well as Planned Parenthood for being the only major party gubernatorial candidate who is pro-choice on abortion, Bernero's campaign gained momentum as he made up ground, then surged into the lead to beat Dillon by a comfortable margin with 308,864 votes (59 percent) to Dillon's 218,575 (41 percent).
Bernero is expected to choose an African-American running mate, and Smith is a possibility, along with Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, term-limited state Sen. Buzz Thomas, former Detroit Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix and former Detroit Deputy Police Chief Brenda Goss Andrews.
The Republican primary was a different story, with businessman Rick Snyder, considered to be the most moderate candidate, winning with 380,720 votes (36 percent), while three other contenders split the conservative vote. They were U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, who received 280,593 votes (27 percent); Attorney General Mike Cox, who had the Chamber of Commerce and Right to Life endorsements, and accused Hoekstra of not being conservative enough, 239,927 (23 percent); and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, who went for the bigot vote by calling for Michigan to pass a law similar to Arizona's racist SB 1070 and appealed to union haters by advocating that Michigan become a right to work state, 127,112 (12 percent). The fifth candidate, state Sen. Tom George, was never a factor in the race, ending up with 16,983 votes (2 percent).
In the 13th congressional district, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick was finally brought down by her close identification with her son, disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. She only received 39 percent of the Democratic primary vote in 2008, winning because the opposition vote was split between two challengers.
This time around, Kilpatrick received 19,516 votes, a slightly better 41 percent, but anti-Kilpatrick voters successfully concentrated their support on state Sen. Hansen Clarke, who won with 22,570 votes (47 percent). The other four challengers received very few votes. They were: Glenn Plummer, 2,039 (4 percent); John Broad, 1,871 (4 percent); Vincent Brown, 893 (2 percent); and Stephen Hume, 820 (2 percent). In this heavily Democratic district, Clarke is expected to easily defeat Republican candidate John Hauler on Nov. 2.
In the 14th congressional district, Don Ukrainec won the Republican primary over Pauline Montie by 7,699 (55 percent) to 6,204 (45 percent). Ukrainec has virtually no chance against Democratic incumbent John Conyers.
There was a four-way Republican primary in the 15th congressional district, won by Rob Steele with 18,357 votes (51 percent). The other candidates were John Lynch, 11,945 (33 percent); Tony Amorose, 4,488 (12 percent); and Majed Moughni, 1,374 (4 percent). Democratic incumbent John Dingell, the longest serving member in the history of the U.S. House, is heavily favored to add to his record tenure.