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"I believe every Michigan kid has a birthright to a great public education," says Democratic candidate for governor Gretchen Whitmer, unveiling her campaign's plan for education on Friday. 

Whitmer says Michigan used to have one of the best public education systems in the country; now it's in the bottom ten. She says K - 12 schools have to  get more money, so first and foremost, the state needs to stop "stealing" money from the School Aid Fund.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The race to replace Governor Rick Snyder is on.

Here on Mackinac Island this week, we learned from a gubernatorial debate: That Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is a mom. She’ll “Fix the Damn Roads.” And she has a “backbone of titanium.” Just ask her.

Republican Pat Colbeck has Michigan’s roads disaster all figured out. He’d order “a complete review” of the state’s road-building process and upgrade them to higher standards – all without raising taxes. Right.

Democrat Abdul El-Sayed would dismantle the “Betsy DeVos agenda” for Michigan’s public schools and “end this profit motive in our schools.” And every student coming from a household making $150,000 or less should graduate from college debt-free. How and who’s paying the tab he didn’t say.

Abdul El-Sayed and Shri Thanedar
Michigan Radio

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers has unanimously upheld Shri Thanedar's nominating petition signatures in his bid to be the Democratic nominee for governor, The Associated Press has reported.

The board on Friday rejected a challenge from a primary rival, Abdul El-Sayed. The grievance claims most of Thanedar's petitions contain offenses ranging from voter information clashing with the qualified voter file to potentially falsified signatures of petition circulators.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

The four Republicans and three Democrats running for governor appeared on a stage together for the first time today.

The biggest flashpoint came when Republican state Senator Patrick Colbeck said one of the Democrats has connections to Muslim terrorist groups. Abdul El-Sayed fired back that other Republicans should join him in condemning the allegation.

Bridge Magazine

State officials say a top Democratic candidate for governor is eligible to run.

Abdul El-Sayed was registered to vote in New York state from 2012 until 2015. Michigan’s Constitution requires candidates for governor to be a registered voter in Michigan for at least four years prior to taking office.

But despite that, the state Bureau of Elections says El-Sayed, the former Detroit health department director, is still eligible to run for governor.

Michigan Governor seal
Wikimedia Commons

This week on the political roundup, Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow with Public Sector Consultants and former Republican majority leader in the state senate, and Vicki Barnett, former mayor of Farmington Hills and former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to discuss recent developments in the primary races for governor.

Shri Thanedar
shri2018.com

Shri Thanedar has a fascinating life story. Earlier this year he gave me his autobiography, The Blue Suitcase: Tragedy and Triumph in an Immigrant’s Life. I’ve only read parts of it, but it is more fascinating than most campaign biographies.

Last year, after selling much of Avomeen Chemical Services, the Ann Arbor laboratory he founded, Thanedar decided to run for governor, and has poured millions of his own money into the cause, flooding the airwaves with well-produced TV commercials.

Shri Thanedar
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Millionaire businessman Shri Thanedar filed petition signatures Monday to appear as a candidate for governor on the Democratic primary ballot in August.

Thanedar is a PhD who made his fortune in the chemical testing industry after immigrating from India.

“In 1984, I got my green card, which made the way for me to become a U.S. citizen. So, I owe tremendously to Michigan," he says. "I want to give back. And this is my chance, so I am really excited today to make that happen.”

Shri Thanedar
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week, Stateside has been talking to the Democrats running for their party’s nomination for governor.

Shri Thanedar is an Ann Arbor businessman who is primarily self-funding his campaign, and he joined Stateside’s Lester Graham to discuss his stance on the issues, as well as the latest political controversies.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This year, TV ad spending is spiking early among candidates running for Michigan governor.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports $1.7 million has been spent on TV ads to promote candidates in Michigan’s governor’s race. 

The network’s Craig Mauger says most of that spending was by Democrat Shri Thanedar, who’s poured $1.2 million into TV campaign ads since the January 1.

Men in late middle age are capable of daydreaming. For most of us, these dreams are fairly pedestrian. Maybe, just maybe, we might be the first 60-something to suddenly break into the major leagues. Maybe that one lottery ticket I buy every Thanksgiving will turn out to be a big winner and I’ll be able to quit my job.

Those are fairly typical fantasies. But things change for those few of us who actually do have a whole lot of money. Some do things like acquire a 24 year old girlfriend, whether they are already married or not. Others buy large boats, or perhaps a Maserati.

We are now a year away from Election 2018. It’s the time when the concept of who a candidate might be is starting to create the reality of who that candidate will be.

We are in the period of time when candidates running for office in 2018 are trying to solidify their status as the front-runner, figuring out who’s got that all important political momentum.

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s gubernatorial election is still 14 months away, but the field of candidates is growing quickly.

A whopping 20 people have filed with the Secretary of State so far: six Republicans, seven Democrats and seven third-party candidates. And that number is expected to grow before the April 2018 filing deadline.

Former Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer was just one of a number of Democrats at Detroit's annual Labor Day parade.
Whitmer for Governor

Detroit’s annual Labor Day parade attracted the usual mix of union members, activists and political candidates this year.

Those candidates included three of the Democrats running for governor.

Former state Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer has lined up most of the big labor support statewide. She met and marched with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, among others.

Shri Thanedar
shri2018.com

Imagine you suddenly came into $3.3 million dollars, and your instructions from the universe were to spend it to make life better for the people of Michigan.

My guess is that your first idea would not be to spend it to try to win the Democratic nomination for governor next year. But that’s what Shri Thanedar is doing.

After this week, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what the 2018 governor’s race will look like in Michigan.

In just a little more than a year, Republicans and Democrats in Michigan will choose their candidates for governor in the August primary. Governor Rick Snyder is term-limited so, it’s a wide open field.

Shri Thanedar holding his grandson before making the announcement that he is running for Governor.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Indian-born small businessman Shri Thanedar announced he is joining the race for governor of Michigan today in Detroit.

Thanedar is seeking the Democratic nomination. He's never held public office, but says he and his family will serve the state that helped him achieve success.

“We have done well for our family, but it is time now to try and help others in my state achieve their American dream. Within months, I sold my business, gave my staff a $1.5 million bonus, and decided to devote the rest of my life to public service,” Thanedar said.