DETROIT (AP) - Democrat Virg Bernero and Republican Rick Snyder won theirparty's nominations for Michigan governor Tuesday, setting up afall showdown between a populist, labor-backed candidate and apolitical newcomer who spent millions of his own money in theprimary race.
Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, easily defeated House SpeakerAndy Dillon of suburban Detroit. Snyder, a former computerexecutive, beat four GOP opponents with far more politicalexperience.
"Obviously, the state is not a business. You can't, as a CEO,tell the Legislature what to do," said John Manchester, 65, aSnyder supporter from Saugatuck. "But his thoughts, his ideas andhis information strike me as being vital to what we have here, asopposed to a lot of empty promises and business as usual."
Many voters cited Michigan's ravaged economy and leadershipas critical to their primary choices in the state's most wide-opengubernatorial race in decades. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholmcouldn't run again because of term limits.
"The good news: We did it," Bernero, 46, declared at aDetroit hotel after stepping to a microphone with the "Rocky" themeplaying.
"Working people count. Manufacturing and small businessesmatter," he said. "The American dream is worth fighting for. Andthe Michigan we grew up in, the Michigan that was at the top, isthe Michigan that we're ready to fight for today."
With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Bernero defeatedDillon 59 percent to 41 percent.
Democrat John Manolis of Dearborn said he voted for Bernerolargely because of his support for unions.
"Union's a dirty word, but people don't realize the unionwage also pushes everybody else's wage," said Manolis, a62-year-old who lost his job as a contract employee at the statehealth department several years ago and has had trouble finding afull-time job.
With 82 percent of precincts reporting in the Republicanrace, Snyder had 37 percent of the vote over U.S. Rep. PeteHoekstra, who had 27 percent, and state Attorney General Mike Cox,who had 23 percent. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard and stateSen. Tom George were far behind.
Snyder, 51, was an executive at Gateway Inc. during the 1990sbefore turning to private investment. He introduced himself in TVads as "one tough nerd" and some voters said they liked his lack ofpolitical experience. He skipped televised debates with otherRepublicans and instead held public forums, and even attracted somesupport from Democrats.
Snyder, who lives near Ann Arbor, had spent about $6 millionof his own money on the campaign through mid-July. The Black EyedPeas' "I Gotta Feeling" played as he came out to greet supportersbefore speaking Tuesday night.
"For people that believe our government works well and thatthe political system works well, they should vote for the othercandidate," he said. "For people who believe our government isbroken, our political system is broken, it's time for catalysts --I want to represent you, someone from the real world."
Snyder wants to replace the main Michigan business tax with aflat 6 percent corporate tax. His support for easing restrictionson embryonic stem cell research has turned off socialconservatives.
Bernero wants to change the state's tax structure and open abank that would make low-interest loans to businesses and collegestudents. He says vacant industrial sites should become hubs fornew jobs in green technology.
Union members carried Bernero to victory, said MichiganAFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney.
"Over the last few weeks, we were able to reach out to over100,000 people. Our members have held dozens of phone banks staffedby hundreds of volunteers," Gaffney said.
Hoekstra, of Holland, expressed no regret at giving up a safeseat in Congress to run for governor.
"God's got something better in mind," he said.
Cox, of Livonia, who couldn't run again for attorney generalbecause of term limits, urged Republicans to get behind Snyder "andwe will have a resurgence and a redemption here in Michigan."
Michigan voters also had contested congressional races inmany parts of the state.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Detroit wastrailing state Sen. Hansen Clarke in the 13th District. She hasbeen dogged by the legal troubles of her imprisoned son, formerDetroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
The field also was packed in three congressional districts innorthern and western Michigan where no incumbents were on theballot.
Associated Press writers Jeff Karoub in Dearborn and MikeHouseholder, Tim Martin, Kathy Barks Hoffman and Nicquel Terry inDetroit contributed to this report.
Snyder is scheduled for an appearance on 24 Hour News 8 Daybreak at 6:07 a.m. Wednesday.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Roads are either snow-covered, slushy or slick Monday morning.