With Jennifer Granholm and Dick Posthumus inked in at the top of
their tickets, Democrats and Republicans began the name game for
running mates Wednesday.
Granholm, the Democratic attorney general, and Posthumus, the
Republican lieutenant governor, will select their political partners
before their party conventions later this month.
Analysts say Granholm's surprisingly big win - she out polled
former Gov. James Blanchard and U.S. Rep. David Bonior in all 83
counties - gives her wide discretion.
"There's always talk of gender balance and regional balance, but
it doesn't matter when you have a strong gubernatorial candidate,"
said Ed Sarpolus, vice president of the polling firm EPIC/MRA.
The theory doesn't hold true for Posthumus, said Tom Shields, a
Republican consultant who heads Marketing Research Group in Lansing.
"Republicans really need to take a strong look at how they
balance out the ticket," Shields said. "The last thing Republicans
need is an all white, male ticket."
Several names have been thrown out on both sides.
For Granholm, much of the attention Wednesday focused on Senate
Minority Leader John Cherry of Clio, outside Flint. He would have
the strong backing of the UAW and the AFL-CIO, which backed Bonior
in the primary.
Granholm said she's counting on their enthusiastic support in the
Nov. 5 election.
"I know I cannot do it without my brothers and sisters in
organized labor," she told Democrats at a unity breakfast in
Posthumus wouldn't say who he was considering as his running
mate, but said he'll make an announcement before the Aug. 23 GOP
convention in Lansing.
Having a woman on the ticket is important, Posthumus said, but
it's not a priority.
"I need someone who will be able to take over as governor should
anything happen to me," he said.
The secretary of state is the only other spot where a woman's
name has been circulating among Republicans. Former Kent County
Clerk Terri Land is vying with state Sen. Loren Bennett of Canton
for the party's nomination.
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Mike Cox likely will capture
the attorney general GOP nomination.
Unlike some previous elections, Democrats are expected to have
little trouble putting together a diverse ticket, which Granholm and
other Democrats have said is essential.
Granholm's win puts a woman at the top of the ticket for the
first time in state history, and Butch Hollo-well, a prominent black
attorney from Detroit and close friend of Granholm's, is considered
the front-runner for secretary of state.
State Sen. Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township has the inside
track for the Democrats' attorney general nomination.