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John Engler

In office
January 1, 1991 – January 1, 2003
Lieutenant Dick Posthumus

Connie Binsfeld

Preceded by James Blanchard
Succeeded by Jennifer Granholm

Born October 12, 1948 (1948-10-12) (age 61)
Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Colleen Engler (divorced) Michelle Engler
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

John Mathias Engler (born October 12, 1948) is an American politician. He served as the 46th Governor of Michigan from 1991 to 2003.

Engler, a Roman Catholic, was born in Mount Pleasant and grew up on a cattle farm in Beal City. He attended Michigan State University and graduated with a degree in agricultural economics in 1971. He was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives as a State Representative in 1970 at the age of 22. His campaign manager was new MSU College Republican chair Dick Posthumus, who later went on to become Engler's Lieutenant Governor.

Engler married Colleen House in 1975. Colleen Engler, by then a state representative herself, ran unsuccessfully in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 1986. John Engler had initially declared his support for another candidate (eventual Republican nominee William Lucas), but backed Colleen Engler once she became a candidate. The couple divorced sometime during the 1980s.

Engler married his second wife, Michelle, a lawyer, in 1990. She was named to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) board in 2001 by President George W. Bush and re-appointed in 2002. The couple have triplet daughters born November 13, 1994. The girls are named Margaret Rose, Hannah Michelle and Madeleine Jenny.

Engler has spent most of his adult life in government. He was serving in the Michigan Senate when he enrolled at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and graduated with a J.D. in 1981, having served as a Michigan State Senator since 1979. He was elected Senate Majority Leader in 1984 and served there until elected governor in 1990.

Engler serves on the Board of Advisors of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, an educational organization that continues the intellectual legacy of noted conservative icon Russell Kirk. Engler also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Marguerite Eyer Wilbur Foundation, which funds many Kirk Center programs.

Contents

Governorship

His administration was characterized by privatization of state services, tax reduction, educational reform, welfare reform and major reorganization of executive branch departments. In 1996 he was elected Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

1996 Presidential Election

During the 1996 presidential campaign, Engler was considered by many political commentators and experts to be a serious potential vice presidential running mate for Republican nominee Bob Dole. Eventually, however, Dole instead selected Jack Kemp, a former congressman and HUD Secretary.

2000 Presidential Election

Engler was widely touted as a potential candidate for President in the 2000 election. However, Engler quickly passed on the race and endorsed his friend, Texas Governor George W. Bush, in the Republican primary.

After Bush secured the GOP nomination, Engler's name began to surface as a possible running mate for Bush [1]. However, many pundits believe that because Engler was unsuccessful in delivering Michigan for Bush in the Republican primary election that year, he was passed-over for the running mate position, as well as a coveted Cabinet position after Bush was elected.

2002 Elections & Post-Gubernatorial Work

Engler's lieutenant governor, Dick Posthumus, sought to succeed Engler in the 2002 gubernatorial race. Despite Republican successes across the country and in Michigan, Posthumus lost a close race to the state's Attorney General, Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

Since leaving the governor's mansion in January 2003, Engler served as President of the state and local government sector of Electronic Data Systems. He left that post in August 2004.

National Association of Manufacturers

In September 2004, Engler was named the new President & CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Election results

In 1990 then State Senate Majority Leader John Engler challenged Governor James Blanchard in his bid for a third term. Political observers viewed Engler's bid as a long shot, and he trailed Blanchard by double digits in the polls the weekend before the election. However, on election day Engler pulled off the upset, defeating Blanchard by approximately 17,000 votes – less than one percentage point. This victory is often cited by politicians of both major parties who are trailing in the polls as evidence they still can win.

In 1994 Engler ran for his second term. The Democrats nominated former Representative Howard Wolpe, who had close ties to labor movement – a potent force in Democratic politics in Michigan. Engler bested Wolpe 61% - 39%, and the state Republican party made significant gains. Spencer Abraham picked up the Senate seat of retiring Democrat Donald W. Riegle, Jr.. Republicans gained a seat to break a tie in the state House of Representatives and take a 56-54 majority, while also picking up a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican Candice Miller won an upset victory to win the post of Secretary of State.

Michigan voters re-elected Governor Engler to his third and final term in 1998. He won a landslide victory over lawyer Geoffrey Fieger. Engler took 1,883,005 votes – 62 percent of the total – to Fieger's 38 percent and 1,143,574 votes. Engler's landslide helped the state Republican party to gain six seats in the state House of Representatives, taking control of the chamber they had lost two years previously with a 58-52 margin, as well as picking up an additional seat in the State Senate, for a 23-15 majority. Republicans also gained a seat on the technically non-partisan state Supreme Court, holding a 4-3 majority over the Democrats. Democrats held on to other seats, many of whom were held by long term incumbents in no danger of losing regardless who won the governorship.

Electoral history

  • 1998 Race for Governor
  • 1994 Race for Governor
  • 1990 Race for Governor

Further reading

Lieutenant governors:

Democratic opponents:

Political offices
Preceded by
James Blanchard
Governor of Michigan
1991 – 2003
Succeeded by
Jennifer Granholm
Preceded by
Parris Glendening
Maryland
Chairman of the National Governors Association
2001 – 2002
Succeeded by
Paul E. Patton
Kentucky

Simple English

John Mathias Engler (born October 12, 1948) once was governor of Michigan.

Engler was born in Mount Pleasant and grew up in Beal City. He went to college at Michigan State University. He became a member of the Michigan House of Representatives in 1970. He became governor of Michigan in 1991. His term ended in 2003.[1][2]

References








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