Moderation is no vice in Michigan

Today was primary day in Michigan, Missouri, and Kansas. Among the more interesting results is the victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Michigan by former Gateway executive Rick Snyder.
According to this report, Snyder does not talk much about being a conservative (and may not really be one). Instead he pitches his competence, calling himself “one tough nerd,” and actively seeks the votes of non-conservataives.
Snyder faced two formidable opponents in the Republican primary — Rep. Peter Hoekstra and Attorney General Mike Cox. These two candidates competed for the conservative vote, and may have split it. Meanwhile Snyder may have received considerable support from non-Republicans who elected to vote in the Republican primary, though the magnitude of ‘the crossover vote isn’t clear.
With about three-quarters of the vote in, Snyder has 36.5 percent, compared to 27 percent for Hoekstra and 23 percent for Cox. Even if the conservative vote was split, and even allowing for crossover voters and fact that this is Michigan, it still seems notable that in this political season, the centrist-sounding Snyder has prevailed. But this is consistent with the thesis I saw advanced in the Washington Post not long ago that the Tea Party movement holds less sway in the industrial midwest than elsewhere because Republicans in these hard-hit states are driven less by ideology and more by the desire to elect pragmatic leaders they believe can make the government work for them.


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