Romney’s play for Michigan

But a number of factors suggest that Romney has a shot in Michigan. For one thing, since Obama’s 2008 victory, Michigan voters put the House in GOP hands and have elected a Republican governor, Rick Snyder, who campaigned (like Romney) on his experience in the private sector. Since taking office, Snyder has erased a $1.5 billion budget deficit and cut corporate taxes by $1 billion a year — and Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped from over 13 percent in 2010 to 8.6 percent in June. If Michigan voters are comfortable enough to put a chief executive in charge in Lansing, it stands to reason they would also put a chief executive in charge in Washington…

But the Romney campaign has also been highlighting two other issues that have particular resonance in Michigan. One is the administration’s contraception and abortifacient mandate, which hurts the president with the socially conservative Reagan Democrats in such places as Macomb County. There are 2.4 million Catholic voters in Michigan, and Obama’s assault on religious liberty has alienated many of them. In May, the Michigan Catholic Conference filed suit against the Obama administration over the Health and Human Services mandate — and Catholic priests will be preaching against it in parishes across the state between now and Election Day. Look for Romney to underscore his opposition to the HHS mandate — and his endorsement by Lech Walesa — with these Catholic voters, many of whom are of Polish and Ukrainian descent.