State - Lansing Democrat Fieger on fence in Mich. governor's race Attorney says he'll decide this week

By Kathy Barks Hoffman

AP Political Writer

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Attorney Geoffrey Fieger said Monday he'll decide this week if he's going to make a second run for Michigan governor.

The outspoken, shaggy-haired Southfield attorney called the five Republicans in the governor's race a "motley crew" and said he doesn't know much about the three Democrats he'd face in a primary. He said none has shown much vision.

"I'm more knowledgeable than any of the candidates," Fieger said in a phone call. "The state is rudderless ... Our schools are all closing. Where's the outrage?"

Fieger won the 1998 Democratic nomination but was unable to best Republican Gov. John Engler in the general election.

He has remained in the public eye, fighting a series of high-profile cases and for a while defending assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian. Danny Huston plays Fieger in the just-released HBO movie about Kevorkian, "You Don't Know Jack."

An EPIC-MRA poll released over the weekend shows Fieger more popular than the three Democrats already in the race. Twenty-eight percent of the 400 likely Democratic primary voters questioned April 21 said they'd vote for Fieger if the election were held now, while 20 percent picked House Speaker Andy Dillon, 13 percent Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and 8 percent state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith. Fieger, Dillon and Bernero all were between 20 percent and 27 percent once a short description was read about each.

The poll was conducted for the Detroit Free Press and TV stations WXYZ, WOOD, WILX and WJRT and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. Nearly 30 percent of those polled were undecided.

Gubernatorial candidates must turn in at least 15,000 valid signatures from around the state by May 11 to get on the ballot. Fieger said he could pay to collect the signatures and doesn't consider the approaching deadline a problem.

He also didn't sound very excited about running to replace Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who can't run again after eight years because of term limits.

"If Bill Milliken would become governor again, I wouldn't be interested," Fieger said, referring to the former moderate Republican still in Traverse City who served as governor from 1969-82. "It's a thankless job, and whoever walks into it is walking into a gauntlet."

The Michigan Republican Party blames the state's woes on seven years of Granholm, saying under her leadership "we have watched family after family leave the state, unemployment rise, home foreclosures rise and have seen our taxes increase."

Fieger, however, said he would oppose the tax cuts being pushed by the GOP gubernatorial candidates.

"What has that done for us? We've been doing that for 30 years" and the economy still is in terrible shape, he said. "It's laughable."

Published: Wed, Apr 28, 2010