When Is the Right Time to Start Paying Attention to Governor’s Race?

Reporters Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth asked people if they know who’s running. The answers were “disconcerting.”

Jake Neher/WDET

Michigan’s 2018 race for governor is beginning to take shape. In the past week, Attorney Mark Bernstein decided against running for the Democratic nomination and conservative state Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton Twp.) jumped into the Republican field.

WDET’s Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth talk about why it might be a good idea to pay attention to the governor’s race, even this far ahead of the 2018 election.

“It depends on what you want to get out of the governor’s race,” says Roth. “If you want to know who is going to be the next governor of Michigan, you can wait a while… However, if your goal is to get to know the candidates… now is going to be the time when you’re probably going to have your best shot at access to them.”

Neher says anything can happen between now and November 2018. He notes what the GOP’s field of candidates looked like this far ahead of the 2010 election.

“The Republican side was going to come down to Mike Cox, Pete Hoekstra, or Mike Bouchard,” he says. “Now, we have Governor Snyder.”

Neher took to the streets to ask people if they knew who’s running for governor. He says the answers were “disconcerting.”

Click on the audio player above to hear those answers and the full conversation.


Here’s a more complete list of the possible names on the 2018 primary ballot:
– Patrick Colbeck, state Senator
– Evan Space, businessman
– Joseph Derose, insurance agent
– Dr. Jim Hines, President of Christian Medical and Dental Associations
– Mark McFarlin, former Taxpayers Party nominee in 2014
Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley are both widely expected to run, but have made no announcements yet.
– Gretchen Whitmer, former state Senate Minority Leader
– Abdul El-Sayed, former director of the Detroit Health Department
– William Cobbs, businessman
– Kentiel White, former Corporal at Medic One Ambulance Service
– Shri Thanedar, businessman
– Dwain Reynolds, teacher and self-described Democratic Socialist/Green/Progressive party
– Todd Schleiger, Owner/operator of Home Power Source, LLC. and running as Independent


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.
  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.