LANSING –– Term-limited Attorney General Bill Schuette and retiring U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-Harrison Twp.) are virtually tied in a new poll of the 2018 GOP primary for Michigan governor.
Schuette had 21% and Miller took 20% in an automated survey for Inside Michigan Politics and Target Insyght. Lt. Gov. Brian Calleyhad 11% and state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) had 3%, with 45% of voters undecided.
Gov. Rick Snyder is term-limited and cannot run again in 2018.
“After being such a high-profile partner to Gov. Snyder, you’d think Brian Calley would be running away with the 2018 Republican nomination to succeed him,” said Susan J. Demas, Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. “Instead, he’s a distant third to Attorney General Bill Schuette, who’s the top pick of conservative voters, and Candice Miller, the clear choice of establishment GOP voters.”
“Legislative leaders always want to make the leap to statewide office, but I don’t see a path for an Arlan Meekhof victory,” said Ed Sarpolus, Executive Director of Target Insyght. “It’s not clear that Candice Miller is running –– but if she does, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
In the Democratic primary, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan led with 20%, even though he has said he’s not interested in running in 2018. Former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) had 16%, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) received 12% and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel had 9%. And 43% of voters were undecided.
“The Democratic nomination is Mike Duggan’s if he wants it –– but for now, he’s insisting that he doesn’t,” Sarpolus said. “Gretchen Whitmer’s aggressive outreach schedule in the last six months has definitely paid off with her second-place finish. But with more than four in 10 voters undecided, anything can happen.”
“Dan Kildee has raised his profile in few months, taking the lead on the Flint water crisis and in getting U.S. veteran Amir Hekmati released from Iran. If Mike Duggan doesn’t run, Kildee is in prime position to capture some of his support in metro Detroit –– which is the key area any Democrat needs to win,” Demas said. “Mark Hackel clearly has the most crossover appeal, but that’s not going to help him win the Democratic primary.”
IMP and Target Insyght automatically polled 400 likely Michigan GOP primary voters and 400 likely Michigan Democratic primary voters from Feb. 2 to 4. Each survey has a margin of error of 5%.