While both of these men have served Michigan, Rick Snyder as the current governor and Mark Schauer as a state representative and senator, later serving as a U.S. representative, they are slated to face off as adversaries in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
During his four-year tenure, Gov. Snyder has advocated for and signed numerous pieces of legislation including Right to Work, laboring to balance the state’s budget and bring investments and businesses to the Great Lakes area.
Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics, said the governor will work hard during the campaign to talk about the state’s economic recovery and his efforts to rebuild Detroit. Although Snyder’s support of the Medicaid expansion has caused concern among tea party supporters and he alarmed moderates and Democrats with his abortion and labor legislation, Ballenger said the governor isn’t in bad shape.
“He will be subject to second guessing, but I don’t think he’s mortally wounded or particularly vulnerable,” he said.
On the other hand, Ballenger believes Schauer will hit hard on the $1.8 billion tax cut Snyder gave to businesses at the cost of cuts to revenue sharing and K-12 funding.
Even months before the impending tidal wave of advertising and political debate, the race is projected to be close.
Nathan L. Gonzales, deputy editor for The Rothenberg Political Report, said neither political party is expected to surge, and that the race for governor within Michigan is considered a pure tossup at this point.
With Snyder taking flack over the proposed Medicaid expansion from within his party, Gonzales said he cannot take the upcoming election for granted, with his financial advantage over Schauer, and despite excitement from party officials, Schauer still has a lot to do before Nov. 4.
“Democrats are excited about Schauer, but he still has to ramp up his campaign,” he said.
One of the most important issues for Michigan voters will be the economy and whether or no t Snyder’s policies have been the cause of the state’s turnaround, according to Ballenger.
Early in the race, Schauer has been an outspoken critic of Snyder’s economic polices, stating the governor has chosen corporate interests over the well-being of Michigan residents.
“(Gov. Snyder has) raised taxes on the working poor and (made) cuts to education funding in order to give businesses a tax cut,” Schauer said in an interview with The State News last week.
However, Schauer might have trouble contending with figures such as unemployment, which has fallen from 11 percent in January of 2011 to 8.7 percent in June 2013. Michigan also attracted $242 million in capital investments in 2012, the most since 2008, ranking fourth nationally, according to the Michigan Venture Capital Association.
Even with a strong backing of support from Democrats throughout the state, Ballenger said Schauer doesn’t appear to be overly charismatic and might have been selected as the candidate for being sensible and not prone to mistakes, rather than being the most captivating candidate, perhaps leading to more cerebrally stimulating debates rather than must-see TV.
“When they debate, they’re going to be intelligent debates between two guys wh o know the score,” he said.
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