You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 1:04 p.m.

Lt. Gov. John Cherry withdraws from Democratic race for Michigan governor

By Staff

Lt. Gov. John Cherry, considered the Democratic front-runner to succeed Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said Tuesday he has decided not to enter the race.

Cherry told The Associated Press that he couldn't raise the money needed to mount a successful campaign.

"It's the economy," he said in an interview. "People are not in a position to give financially for campaigns as they have in the past."

Cherry said he had met his goals of getting the support of at least 1,000 people who would endorse him and collecting at least half the petition signatures he needed to get on the ballot. But fundraising wasn't going the way he wanted. He said he's still looking at final numbers on how much came in but knew it wasn't enough.

"You would have to spend significant dollars on TV to have a successful campaign," he said. "It just wasn't there."

There had been recent signs of trouble, with Cherry shaking up his campaign staff. But Cherry said his campaign was on track except for the money.

His withdrawal likely will cause Democrats who had stayed out of the race to reconsider. With just eight months until the August primary, any new candidates may have to be able to finance most of their own campaign. That could point toward someone such as businesswoman and University of Michigan Regent Denise Ilitch.

Cherry's withdrawal also could open the way for House Speaker Andy Dillon or Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero to enter the race. Both have said they're considering a run. Request for comment were left Tuesday with their staffs.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano also has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

Already running are Democratic state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Salem Township, former Rep. John Freeman and Michigan State trustee George Perles.

Republican candidates include U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Attorney General Mike Cox and Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder.

Cherry, 58, has served under Granholm for two terms. As lieutenant governor, he led a higher education commission and oversaw most of the administration's water protection efforts and has been working to consolidate state government. Granholm praised him for his efforts to keep negotiations moving when lawmakers got bogged down in 2007 and again last year while reaching a budget compromise.

But the solid-but-unassuming Cherry was seen even by some members of his own party as unlikely to win in November, given voters' sour mood with the current administration.

He said he hasn't ruled out another run for governor in the future, but plans to spend his last year as lieutenant governor focused on promoting Michigan's abundant water resources as a draw for businesses and tourists.



Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 10:01 p.m.

Given the pathetic job Granholm has done as Governor, he's not hurting his chances at election. Anything connected with her admin is doomed. On a side note- good luck to Dave Bing. Detroit is one step away from being bulldozed into farmland.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:07 p.m.

Let's pick state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith!


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

Hopefully, Bouchard will win the Republican nomination. This year SHOULD be a good Republican year, both in the state and in the country at large. Off topic, Rasmussen has a poll that shows the Republican within 9 points of the Democrat for the late Ted Kennedy's seat. I think Cherry saw the writing on the wall...


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 5:03 p.m.

Top Cat, We shall see, and Cox does have some past issues that may not bode well on the west side of the state. There is a lot of time between now and November. It will be interesting to see how the national dynamics play outin the respective state elections.

Top Cat

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:53 p.m.

treetowncartel...I would just as happy to lose a bet involving a Pale Ale as in winning it. Trends would favor the Republicans...however....Cox could easily be tied to the status quo and to Kwame. He has a few skeletons in his closet. Dillon has separated himself from the Democratic pack on one very key issue. It's an uncertain world. One thing I will guarantee though is that Mark Schauer is a dead duck.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:41 p.m.

Top Cat, I'll put a pint of Pale Ale on the line. Dillon didn't do enough to seperate himself from Granholm, and any body who can be linked to the late passing of the budget is in the cross hairs for some easy fodder. The other thing is anybody from the legislature is going to have a hard time since combined they maybe put in 200 days this year, out of a possible 730. Also, sorry to hear about the loss of your voice the other week.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

Upon Cherry's withdrawal announcement, Alma Wheeler Smith's campaign put out a press release today calling for a "new Democratic vision in the state of Michigan." Smith called Cherry a "great legislative leader" and said his decision to withdraw from the gubernatorial race is "unfortunate." She is encouraging people who supported John Cherry to visit her Web site, "Michigans next Governor will face the enormous task of getting Michigan back on track," Smith said. "We need a Governor with a clear vision and tested leadership. We need a Governor who will fight to save the state's foundation: citizens gainfully employed, quality and affordable education from pre-school through college, accessible healthcare for everyone and cities that work."

scooter dog

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

I've voted democratic all my life till the next election.I'll vote for whoever qualified republican is that runs.If kermit the frog is qualified he's got my vote.This state does not need another granholm coat tail.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:04 p.m.

This state does not need to effect another pro-union democrat to any office.

Top Cat

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 3:13 p.m.

Cherry did not have a prayer and it is a testimony to his political savvy that he recognized that. I don't agree with treetowncartel though. Andy Dillon would have a shot at beating Mike Cox should the two get their respective nominations.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 2:03 p.m.

The Democrats don't have a chance to hold the Governor's office next election. they should concentrate on AG and Secretary of State so they have a recognizable face for down the road


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 1:57 p.m.

This is good, the last thing we need is a chance at a third Granholm term. I still can't believe she got elected twice.