* Greg Hinz…
The question is whether any of the four GOP candidates for governor has the guts to make a serious play for them—not just in the November 2014 general election but in the March Republican primary.
If Mr. Quinn is the standard-bearer of the Democrats’ liberal and minority base, Mr. Daley is a card- carrying member of its more centrist, pro-business wing—hundreds of thousands, or maybe millions, of voters who consider Republicans cavemen on social issues but fear that Mr. Quinn either can’t or won’t keep what’s left of our economy from melting away.
Those voters now are up for grabs, be they soft Democrats or true independents. And if a Republican is going to win the governor’s mansion in this solidly blue state, he has to bring them over.
I spent much of the week talking to GOP insiders about whether any of the four is willing to roll the dice in hopes of luring, say, an extra 100,000 or so soft Democrats/independents into a GOP primary that likely will pull only 750,000 or so voters. Almost all of them say their advice would be not to risk straying from the party’s mantra: No new taxes, curbs on union powers and pensions, no gay marriage, gun rights and as many limits as possible on abortion.
“People are looking for a strong leader, someone with a message they’re willing to articulate,” Wheaton-based strategist Dan Curry says. “I think someone with a strong conservative message can win in the general election.”
* The much-vaunted, Rush Limbaugh-inspired Republican crossover vote in Texas and Ohio didn’t do nearly as well as some people believed at the time.
But Michigan’s 2000 presidential primary is often pointed to by people who think that enough Democrats can successfully be lured into voting for Republicans. John McCain got a lot of Democratic votes that year against George W. Bush. Democrats comprised about 17 percent of the total GOP primary vote that year and 14 percent of the total went to McCain.
But Michigan’s governor at the time, refused to use that pursuit of Democrats against McCain…
In a brief interview, Mr. Engler said he regretted not advising Mr. Bush to advertise here that Senator John McCain was appealing to Democrats for support. ‘’We could have gone right at the fact that Senator McCain was making such an explicit pitch, reaching over to the most partisan Democrats, and therefore the least likely ever to become Republicans,'’ he said. ‘’You could have gone to the Republicans in the Republican areas of the state and sort of exposed that directly.'’
If a Republican candidate here tried to do the same thing, it would definitely be used against that person with hardcore GOP primary voters and it could cost that candidate dearly. It would be definitive proof that the candidate is a RINO.
And, as Hinz pointed out, nobody appears willing to take that step here - not yet, anyway, and most certainly not openly.