John D. Cherry ran on the Democratic party ballot for lieutenant governor.
Granholm won with 51% of the vote, followed by Posthumus' 48%, Campbell with 1%, and Pilchak with less than 1%. This made Granholm the first female Michigan governor and the first Democratic governor of Michigan in 12 years.
Granholm was accused in the 2002 Democratic primary of several allegations of cronyism while working as Wayne County Corporation Counsel. Her husband, Daniel Mulhern, had received several contracts for his leadership training company shortly after Granholm left her position as a Wayne County Corporation Counsel in 1998. He received nearly $300,000 worth of contracts, despite being the highest bidder for one of those contracts. Opponents criticized Granholm supporters for engaging in cronyism and giving contracts to her husband immediately after leaving county employment. Granholm and her supporters responded that no ethical violations occurred and that Mulhern had earned the contracts on his own merits.
The Green Party of Michigan nominated Douglas Campbell. Campbell, a registered professional engineer and published Atheist from Ferndale, joined the Green party upon learning of its existence in 2000, and was the Wayne-Oakland-Macomb county campaign coordinator for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, 2000. During the 2002 campaign he claimed he was beaten, arrested and jailed (in Brighton, Michigan) for attempting to participate in a gubernatorial debate from which he was excluded, at the time being the only candidate who was not either a Republican or Democrat.
United States Taxpayers Party (Constitution Party)
Capac resident Joseph Pilchak was nominated by convention to be the U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate for Governor of Michigan. He was the U.S. Taxpayers Party candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 10th District in 2000. The Michigan US Taxpayers' Party is affiliated with the United States Constitution Party, but Michigan election law does not provide a mechanism for changing the name of a political party.
Posthumus, who had been previous Governor Engler's Lieutenant Governor, ran his general election campaign promising to maintain the Engler legacy of lower taxes, more jobs and better schools.
Granholm promised change, running as a tough crime-fighter and consumer advocate. Granholm criticized the Engler administration for coming into office with a budget surplus and leaving with a deficit.
In the biggest event of the election, Posthumus released a memo from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick asking for more appointments for blacks and jobs for Detroit contractors in a Granholm administration. Posthumus pointed to the memo as an example of Democratic Party corruption. Granholm, however, denied ever receiving the memo and said she wouldn't have agreed to it anyway. She said Posthumus was trying to be racially divisive.
^The Constitution Party is still on the Michigan ballot as the United States Taxpayers' Party in Michigan. Although the party changed its name in 1999, the Michigan Bureau of Elections does not provide any mechanism for a political party changing its name.