When Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., announced his support of a federal Medicaid expansion Wednesday, it signified a move to the middle after a divisive 2012 fight over right-to-work legislation. Meanwhile, legislative Republicans showed they still have a healthy appetite for partisan battles, introducing a bill that would mandate a transvaginal ultrasound two hours prior to an abortion.
Snyder has tried to avoid social issues and keep his agenda business-focused, but other elected Republicans seem determined to force his hand -- he also vetoed a GOP-passed concealed weapons bill in the wake of the Newtown shootings.
Will his middle-of-the-road approach produce a challenger from the right? Snyder seems to think so, warning donors that he is preparing for a primary battle. Not so fast, say the state's GOP insiders. Snyder, they say, has done enough to appease the right-wing base by passing right-to-work, and the state's improving economic numbers give the incumbent too much momentum to make him vulnerable within the party.
"I would be surprised if he had any serious primary challenge," said Saul Anuzis, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, in an email. "I have not heard of anyone serious considering challenging the Governor in the primary."
"It would be a major challenge," added Michigan GOP Chair Bobby Schostak, "for any conservative candidate to take on Gov. Snyder based on his real-time record of the last two and a half years and what he's accomplished."
Earlier this week, another state GOP consultant told Hotline On Call Snyder had little to worry about: "He's pretty much sealed off the right flank. If he ends up with a primary challenge from the right, it's going to be token, nominal at best."