September 27, 2006


DeVos Weathers Counterattack (THOMAS BRAY, September 27, 2006, NY Sun)

With the help of $15 million or so in advertising, much of it fueled by his personal fortune, Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos is in a statistical dead heat with incumbent Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm in the polls. [...]

[T]he DeVos campaign continues to stress the need for fundamental change in the Michigan economic climate, starting with elimination of the state's detested Single Business Tax. Ms. Granholm crows about her success in bringing a Google office to Ann Arbor and several Japanese auto operations to other areas of Michigan. But the number of jobs she claims to have "created" is a drop in the bucket compared to the 100,000 or so jobs Michigan has lost since she took office in 2002.

Likewise, her proposals to pour more money into education have aroused little enthusiasm — perhaps because during her tenure Michigan's K through12 system has continued to deliver mediocre results at best while costing taxpayers far more per teacher than in other states. As if to reinforce the image of a labor movement with its head in the sand, the Detroit teachers recently went on strike to demand higher pay even as students were fleeing the city in droves — some 30,000 students in just the last year, according to official statistics.

Mr. DeVos could still blow the opportunity he has created for himself. But the Granholm campaign has seemed lackluster at best. Meanwhile, local GOP activists are muttering about a Vice President DeVos in 2008, and national Republicans are excited by the prospect of a re-energized state party that could help the GOP reclaim the Michigan electoral vote in 2008 after three straight losses to Democratic presidential candidates.

In short, the Michigan GOP seems both unified and motivated to achieve the once-unthinkable, the defeat of an incumbent not so long ago hailed as a Democratic superstar.

It would seem hard to sustain a general attack on the economy at this point, but easy to pin a Democrat down on taxes and possible to separate one from their black base on the issue of education vouchers for those fleeing students.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 27, 2006 12:00 AM
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