Whitmer out; Who will challenge Snyder?

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The next election for governor in Michigan is nearly two years from now, but already the speculation as to who may be in the running is ramping up.

In this or any election cycle, there are a  number of people mulling over their options. Some names that will surface will do so for only a short time, others may be around for the long haul and some may pop up at the last minute.

But anyone serious about running for governor needs to make a decision sooner rather than later and start raising money right now if they plan on challenging incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder -- if he runs.

The person considered one of the Democrats' best bets has already taken herself out of the running. Senator Gretchen Whitmer, the minority leader, was thought by some to be a sure candidate. But Wednesday, citing family reasons, she said she will not get in the race.

That has lead many observers to wonder who else may step up to the plate for the Democrats.

Former Congressman Mark Schauer may be mulling the idea over. He has served in the Michigan House and Senate, but may not be ready to get back into the political fray.

Former state senator and lottery chief Gary Peters is currently serving in the U.S. House. At least one pundit who spoke with 24 Hour News 8 Political Reporter Rick Albin thinks Peters might be lured into the race, while others think he will cultivate his role in Washington. Peters still has a little time to decide, but early organization will be key.

Jocelyn Benson ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state two years ago, but has remained active in the party and as a law professor. As an election law watchdog, Benson would have the backing of some in the Democratic party who have complained loudly about voter manipulation.

Subsequent to this story on Thursday, Jocelyn Benson said in an e-mail to 24 Hour News Political Reporter Rick Albin that she would not be running for governor.

Citing her devotion to her current job at Wayne State Law School she wrote, "I am honored that many people would consider me a potential gubernatorial candidate, and appreciate your call, but I do not intend to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2014."

There are likely to be others if Schauer and Peters never enter the race.

That leaves Snyder. He told 24 Hour News 8 last year that he envisioned this as a 10-year project: two years to run and eight to try to reinvent Michigan. Earlier this year, he said wasn't ready to make an announcement yet.

Despite speculation from some he might not run, it seems that the governor is positioning himself for another race despite the fact he could draw a primary opponent -- though none have yet stepped forward.

One thing for sure is that it will be an expensive race for whoever plans to compete and fundraising will be key, which means candidates should start raising money soon.

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Michigan (change)

Michigan is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification.
Offices & Officials

Governor: Rick Snyder
Lieutenant Governor: Brian Calley
Attorney General: Bill Schuette
Secretary of State: Ruth Johnson

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