Jim Blanchard

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James Johnston Blanchard is a former Governor of Michigan.


Born in 1942, Blanchard attended public schools in Ferndale. He went on to earn a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from University of Minnesota Law School. After college, Blanchard worked in the Michigan Attorney General's office and was elected to the first of four terms in Congress in 1974.

Blanchard did not seek relection to Congress in 1982, choosing instead to run for Governor. He defeated Republican nominee and anti-tax activist Richard Headlee. During Blanchard's time in office, he was confronted by serious budget problems and a decline in the automotive industry, but he generally remained popular and was easily reelected to a second term in 1986.

Blanchard ran for a third term in 1990. The Republican nominee, State Senator John Engler, started the campaign trailing far behind in the polls, but Engler ran an aggressive campaign and closed the gap. Despite election week polls that showed Blanchard with a significant lead, Engler won a narrow victory.

In 1993, Blanchard was named U.S. Ambassador to Canada by President Bill Clinton. He served as Ambassador until 1996, then returned to practicing law. In 2002, Blanchard made another run for Governor, but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Attorney General Jennifer Granholm.

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