1.) In his 2010 Michigan gubernatorial race, Governor Snyder ran an ad titled "Rick Snyder for Michigan. He’s One Tough Nerd.” It's also his twitter handle. From Politico:
“The ad seeks to add a narrative to Snyder's wonky profile, noting that he started reading Fortune at the age of eight, and that "his ten-point plan to reinvent Michigan is so detailed that, well, it’s likely no politician could even understand it... The tag line, of the ad, which was produced by Snyder's advisers Fred Davis, John Weaver, John Yob, and Jake Suski: "Rick Snyder for Michigan. He’s One Tough Nerd."
2.) He doesn't frequently wear ties and gives back his governor's salary. From the New York Times:
Mr. Snyder, a former chairman of the Gateway computer company and a venture capitalist with law and business degrees, spent about $6 million of his own money on the campaign. The governor, who almost never wears a tie, returned all but $1 of his salary in his first year in office.
3.) In its most recent rankings, the Washington Post’s blog The Fix by Chris Cillizza ranks Snyder’s seat as the fifth most likely to change control in the next election. From The Washington Post:
“Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is not in good shape, but Michigan Democrats don’t exactly have a deep bench of accomplished candidates these days. For now, their guy is former congressman Mark Schauer, a one-term member of Congress who lost in the wave of 2010. That may not be an ideal resume for a gubernatorial run, but Democrats seem to like Schauer, and he has an ability to appeal to the broader electorate. Schauer held a slight lead over Snyder in a recent poll from Democratic automated pollster PPP. And for now, he’s got a clear primary.”
4.) Governor Snyder is a true-blue Michigan Wolverine and obtained a JD and MBA from Ann Arbor by the time he was 23. From the Republican Governors Association:
“After graduating from Battle Creek Lakeview High School a semester early, Rick earned three degrees from the University of Michigan, all by the age of 23. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree with high distinction in 1977, his MBA with distinction in 1979 and a JD in 1982.
5.) He calls Michigan residents his "customers." Again from the New York Times:
He says Michigan residents — customers, as he calls them — seem fine with his way of going along.
“Other politicians, a lot of them don’t know what to make of it,” he said.
“That doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to me,” he said, “because, again, my customers appreciate it.”
6.) He wants to build a bridge to Canada from Michigan. From the New York Times:
In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder has pushed for a new bridge, saying it would spur economic growth, but state legislators in Lansing, many of whom are Mr. Snyder’s fellow Republicans, have cited concerns about the costs. Last fall, a Senate committee failed to advance a bridge bill.
So Mr. Snyder, who insists that no Michigan funds will be needed to build the bridge, has proceeded with plans without legislative backing, suggesting that he does not need it under the type of arrangement he and Canadian authorities will describe on Friday.
7.) Snyder got help from Democratic voters in the Republican primary because of Michigan’s open primary system. From FiveThirtyEight:
“In the wake of last week's Michigan Republican gubernatorial primary, there was an even stronger conviction than in Alabama that Rick Synder's victory was attributable in no small part to Democratic voters, partly because his campaign deliberately encouraged crossover votes. Some of Snyder's best counties, moreover, were by tradition strongly Democratic. Finally, turnout was nearly twice as high in the Republican as in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, which is an odd occurrence in a state that hasn't gone Republican in a presidential race since 1988."