I'm shocked at this. I thought Cherry was much stronger than his numbers suggested. He's strongly organized, extremely friendly to labor, neutralizes the gun issue, and good one on one with people (which I know from experience at one of his gun events). If he hit the doors and met the people, he'd have a decent shot to win. Granholm was an albatross, but Cherry could have worked to shake that later.
This opens things up. The two things I have heard is that Andy Dillon and Virg Bernero are jumping in. I think Dillon can be attacked the same way as Cherry. Dillon shepherded through the Granholm tax increase in 2007. Dillon was Speaker of the House during the whole deficit spending and tax increases. He also has left flank problems.
Virg Bernero's interesting. He's the Lansing mayor and always seems to be running for some office. Those VIRG signs are everywhere. He was a former state rep (Barb Byrum's seat) and state senator (Whitmer's seat) who left the state senate to be mayor. Lansing is in better shape than some other Michigan larger cities, but how many people who aren't political junkies or live in the area know about Lansing. There's the capitol. There's Cooley. There's LCC. There's the Lugnuts. There's a few other local favorite places, but it's still largely a GM city with some MSU influence on the east side. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't get its mayor the same name recognition that a mayor of Detroit or Oakland County Executive gets. One thing is for certain is that VIRG won't be getting support from pro-lifers and gun owners based on his state senate record. As a state senator, the biggest thing he is known for as a state senator is the "pop tax". There's a dealbreaker right there. I don't underestimate Bernero though. He'll work hard and is used to tough races in primaries.
I think two darkhorses to watch for with the dems are Mark Hackel and Bob Ficano. Those two I think would be the best chance for the dems to win in 2010. They aren't tied to Lansing or state government.