Virgil Bernero

Republican tech CEOs do win elections -- in Michigan

November 4, 2010: 11:12 AM ET

The self-styled "toughest nerd in Michigan" was quiet on the auto bailout that may have saved his state's largest industry. But former Gateway CEO Rick Snyder is now taking on one of the U.S.'s biggest turnaround jobs: governor of Michigan.

By Doron Levin, contributor

One of the nation's sickest economies will soon be moving to intensive care. Rick Snyder, a political outsider and former computer executive heading the Republican ticket, obliterated his opponent in the race for Michigan's governor on Tuesday, promising to restructure a state economy long dominated by unions and automotive manufacturers.

Snyder, 52, rode into office on a twenty-point margin of victory that, together with GOP gains in the legislature, appears to have delivered him a broad mandate to reform taxation, cut the deficit, reduce the size of government and streamline regulation. He defeated his opponent, Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, who was endorsed by the United Auto Workers union.

The CPA and former chief executive of Gateway, who styled himself as "one tough nerd," spent about $6 million of his own money to finance his campaign, while forgoing contributions from political action committees. He has promised to try to abolish Michigan's business tax, which is based on income and revenue, often imposing liabilities on enterprises that are unprofitable. More

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