Bernstein weighing run for governor

Gov. Mark Bernstein?

It could happen as the well-known and well-heeled trial lawyer from Detroit is “this” close to announcing he’s in the Democratic primary for governor.

The Mark Bernstein working the crowd at a business conference last week on Mackinac Island was not the same guy who expressed grave concerns about running five or six months ago.

Back then he confessed, “I will run for governor someday but now is not the time.” He was concerned about the impact on his young family including a seven- and a 10-year-old.

Fast forward to right now when he says for the first time that his family is all in for what could be a grueling struggle to secure the party nomination.

Family is a big deal for the family from daddy Sam on down to all the children. It’s a good bet that if anyone said no, Mark Bernstein would not run but during an interview he was asked, “When you look your bride and children in the eye, do you get positive feedback, “daddy go do it?”

And without missing a beat he quickly responded, “Yes. Yes.”

The family has had “an endless number” of discussions about the ramifications of a run for the top job in the state. They do not go into this with their eyes closed.

“This is the equivalent of running into a burning building,” he reflects on the challenge that lies ahead. He says the kids “don’t have a clue on the challenges this will be for them,” but he and his spouse see a life lesson unfolding for the kids in this undertaking.

“They understand that we’ve raised them that being engaged in the political process and debating complex issues is a meaningful life.” Noting that his family has been blessed, there is a desire to give something back even if it means entering the sometimes ugly world of politics.

Nonetheless, “We’ve looked for ways to tell our kids” about this public service and running for governor would be a “living embodiment of that.”

If there is any hesitation about this decision it revolves around running a campaign that does not end up in a mud wrestling match with everyone else. “It is whether or not we can run a campaign that is consistent with our values of who we are” and a bomb thrower he is not even though he admits, in this current Trump-driven environment, tossing a lot of red meat around would be very easy but he pledges not to go there because when it is all over, “we want the kids to be proud.”

Watching all this with more than just a causal interest is somebody already in the hunt, Democrat and former Senate Leader Gretchen Whitmer who jumped in last January.

Will she ignore Mr. Bernstein?

“No. I won’t ignore anybody” as she looks forward to a robust debate with whomever gets in including Dr. Abdul El-Sayed who was also working the island gig.

“I’m not a millionaire. I can’t write a check to fund a whole campaign. I’d rather have five million friends than five million bucks in my bank account.”

Did that mean she does not think it’s a good idea to have a millionaire in the governor’s seat?

“We’ve got one now,” she laughs referring to you know who.

Look for Mr. Bernstein’s hat to appear in the ring in two months or so.


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