The Brighton Township Republican recently announced his run for governor, and is in the process of gathering some 30,000
signatures — and raising lots of money — to become the Republican nominee to succeed term-limited Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Nichols concedes he doesn't have the name recognition or
dollars of Republican contenders Attorney General Mike Cox, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder, U.S. Rep.
Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, or Kalamazoo County state Sen. Tom George,
All those candidates — and Republicans statewide — have lost their conservative roots, Nichols said.
He said he's "a conservative first, Republican second," meaning he most values limited government, "free-market solutions" and "traditional family values."
"We've never had a true conservative (governor). I don't think we have any that are running right now," said Nichols, 52.
It's a tough road to go. If he really is a serious candidate, he'll get the 30,000 valid signatures (which I believe must be all over the state) needed to be on the ballot. It's possible, and there's a way he could possibly pull it off, but it is not easy. Name recognition is going to be his biggest obstacle. Most people don't know who he is.
Right now, polls show this a two way race between Mike Cox and Pete Hoekstra with Bouchard in 3rd, and the rest back in single digits (George, Snyder, Rujan). That can change at any time, and I suspect it to be a 4 way race between Cox, Hoekstra, Bouchard, and Snyder (Snyder has money, and it is a large primary so he is a shot).
In order for Nichols to win, he'd have to get on the ballot and then find a way to break into that top group by August. In order for that, someone has to falter, and others have to be unable to catch-on. In addition to that, Nichols will have to offer something the other candidates don't, and it will have to be more than simply "I'm the real conservative" and "I'm a businessman."
He'll need an ace plan, and a lot of free media. I wish him luck, and while I support Mike Cox, I hope he influences the race with his ideas and gets into the debates. Nichols can certainly impact that with hard work and smart campaigning. Can he win? We'll find out more next May.