Dillon to enter race for MI governor

House Speaker Andy Dillon is expected to announce as soon as Thursday that he is entering the race for Michigan governor.

Dillon's been mulling the decision for months. Now he has started calling other Democratic legislators to tell them he will take the first steps toward seeking his party's nomination. There's no word on how or whether the departure of Lieutenant Governor John Cherry from the race influenced his decision. Dillon faces hostility from some key segments of the Democratic Party base - including abortion rights advocates, labor unions and environmentalists.

Many Democrats also blame Dillon for making a budget deal with Senate Republicans that resulted in big budget cuts - although Dillon says he opposes the cuts and is trying to restore them. Dillon's backers say he's shown he's willing to face down the Lansing establishment, even if that means tangling with his own party.

State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith, state Senator Hansen Clarke, and former Representative John Freeman are also seeking the Democratic nomination. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is exploring a bid.