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On the Republican side of the gubernatorial Magic 8 Ball, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, a Democrat, told The Detroit News he is leaning towards running for governor in 2026 – and that he is considering switching parties for the run. “I don’t think he’d pass the (Republican) primaries,” said one Republican elected official who has been active in party affairs. “Even if he is liked by Republicans in Macomb County, no one in the rest of the state knows him,” acknowledging Hackel would likely get tarred-and-feathered with unflattering monikers. He’s hearing state Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) — who is a “darling of the right” — may be flirting with running (dream on), and a lot of the party – or the non-MAGA crowd, whoever is left, anyway, is hoping former state House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), currently a partner at Bloomfield Hills’ law firm Plunkett Cooney after failing to become the state’s attorney general in 2020, runs. “Even though he says he likes what he’s doing, he’s very active in social media and he’s showing up at a lot of fundraisers,” said one local Republican. Leonard is also currently the political consultant for local billionaire Mat Ishbia, owner of United Wholesale Mortgage and the Phoenix Suns NBA team. “Mat’s not political but obviously as a businessman and man of means he relies on Tom to advise him.” The Republican who everyone is putting their money on to run is Bloomfield Township former auto dealer Kevin Rinke, who lost in the primary in 2022. “He’s the only obvious candidate. He’s buying tables at everything, showing up at Brighter Michigan PAC out of Macomb County,” said the GOP politico. “They’re all-Trump, all the time, and Rinke has gone to that level because he wants to win and he feels that’s what he needs to do to win the primary.”



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