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Monday, February 13, 2012

Democratic Women who could run for Governor ...

Looking ahead to 2014: Who will run against Gov. Rick Snyder? (Tim Skubick column)

Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 6:54 AM
Jocelyn Benson
Jocelyn Benson
Gretchen Whitmer.jpg
Gretchen Whitmer
Gretchen Whitmer vs. Jocelyn Benson for governor.

Gretchen and Jocelyn who for what?
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The 2014 contest for governor is a bazillion
miles away - 1,310 days to be exact - so why waste any time on who might be the Democratic nominee?

Because the chatter has already begun even though the current
chief executive is just into his second of a four-year term.

Ms. Whitmer is the senate Democratic leader from East Lansing
and Ms. Benson has already been on the statewide ballot. She ran for
Secretary of State and got swamped by Ruth Johnson in that GOP wave
election in 2010.

When Ms. Benson showed up, the Wayne State University law professor and former civil rights investigator, was a certified novice at running
statewide. She was tagged with the “next Jennifer Granholm” label or
stigma if your prefer.

The SOS candidate didn’t exactly embrace the comparison.
The state was suffering from an acute case of Granholm-fatigue and the
wise Ms. Benson knew hooking her wagon to the governor was a

Of the two, Sen. Whitmer has more experience with six years
in the house and she’s on the last two-year leg of eight years in the
Being an insider does not appear to be in vogue these days but
that does not deter the Whitmer-ittes from urging her to run for

Adding fuel to the Whitmer-for-governor fires is the fact
that President Obama has tapped her as a key spokesperson in
his re-election bid.
She’s already done two teleconferences on his
behalf, including one with the woman who is running again for First Lady.

Everywhere Ms. Whitmer goes, she is asked about it, but she
has not committed - even though she did flirt with running for Attorney
General last time.

As a single mom back then, with two young girls, the heavy
burden of traipsing all over the state to grow grassroots support was
too much. And when one of her daughter’s classmates died of cancer,
that was the last straw. She dropped out before she got in.

The little girls are still little but there is now a Dad in
the picture, but soundings around town suggest that Ms. Whitmer does
not have the fire in the belly to do it this time either. Which means somebody will
have to convince her to pull the trigger.

Maybe that will be her Dad, the former head of Blue Cross, who has talked with her about this.
Ms. Benson, on the other hand, was approached the other day
and asked directly, "Are you interested in running for governor?"

Instead of looking the reporter in the eye, her eye shifted
to her handler as if to say, ”Get me out of here.”

She would not bite and noted that her soldier husband was in
the Middle East and she was in no frame of mind to ponder her political
future right now.

Yet, rummaging around in the Benson brain trust one
discovers that she does not want her name taken off the list and she
would not rule it out.

But you can’t wait too long. Current Gov. Rick Snyder
started two years before his election. Maybe the two should call the
Angriest Mayor in America to see if he will run again?

Lansing Mayor and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Virg Benero volunteered the other day that he has no plans to do that but then quickly added, “Not now.”

You know what that means; he won’t rule it out either.

Watch Off the Record with Tim Skubick online anytime at

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