NPR logo Outsider Snyder Wins Michigan GOP Gov. Primary; Dems Pick Lansing's Bernero

Election 2010

Outsider Snyder Wins Michigan GOP Gov. Primary; Dems Pick Lansing's Bernero

Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, center, speaks to supporters at his election-night event in Ypsilanti after Tuesday's primary. Tony Ding/AP hide caption

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Tony Ding/AP

The Republican primary for governor of Michigan featured the state attorney general, Mike Cox; a member of Congress, Pete Hoekstra; and the sheriff of Oakland County, Mike Bouchard.

The winner?  Rick Snyder.

Snyder, the former president and CEO of Gateway Computers, eschewed social issues like abortion in his first bid for public office.  Introducing himself in his TV ads as "one tough nerd," the wealthy Snyder assumed moderate positions while his rivals hewed to a more conservative line.

(Primary outlook, click here.)

Snyder will now square off against Democratic nominee Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing.  Bernero, with strong support from organized labor and abortion-rights groups, easily defeated state House Speaker Andy Dillon, an abortion opponent.

(Kevin McKague of Davison, Mich., had this reaction via Twitter: "Interesting lessons from the Michigan results ... A pro-choice Republican can win his primary but an anti-abortion Democrat cannot.")

Snyder now has to win over social conservatives if he is to unite his party and take back the governorship from the Democrats after eight years.  Jennifer Granholm, once a rising star in her party but now saddled with a faltering economy, was term-limited.  Her once heir apparent, Lt. Gov. John Cherry, dropped out of the race in January.