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Governor’s Race Heats Up With Endorsements, Ads

March 27, 2018

This week saw major announcements on the 2018 gubernatorial front with an endorsement Monday by the United Auto Workers of former Democratic Senate leader Gretchen Whitmer.  That announcement was followed on Wednesday by the endorsement of sitting Gov. Rick Snyder of his Lt. Gov. Brian Calley’s race for the top job. 

On Thursday, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce came out and endorsed sitting Attorney General Bill Schuette for governor.

At a press event held inside the Solidarity House in Detroit on Monday, Whitmer with UAW President Dennis Williams and roughly 100 other UAW members on stage and in the audience received her 15th labor endorsement. Labor nods to date for Whitmer include: the Michigan Education Association, AFSCME and the Michigan Construction and Building Trades Council. 

“Gretchen has a long history with the working men and women of this state,” Williams said. “She has a long relationship with the United Auto Workers. We know her record. We know how hard she works.” 

The endorsement comes after the UAW and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan tested the waters for other potential candidates such as Mark Bernstein, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.) and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) after it looked as if the Democratic field had solidified. 

But Williams downplayed the process as the UAW simply doing its due diligence and making sure it knew what the field looked like before moving forward with an endorsement before the filing deadline. 

“We didn’t want to make a decision until the full field was in place,” Williams said. “We have a very extensive process and sometimes its grueling, but it is our process.” 

A perception existed that the UAW was shopping for a Whitmer alternative at the end of last year, but Williams insisted its membership wanted to make sure it didn’t miss any potential candidate. 

“We all decided to hold back, make sure the field is filled and then go from there and that’s what we did,” said Williams, adding that his members will be “knocking on doors, talking in the workplace and talking in our homes and our neighborhoods” on Whitmer’s behalf. 

Snyder’s nod to his number two came Wednesday in a rare personal and public endorsement at the headquarters of Barton Malow, a Southfield construction company.  The endorsement came at a campaign event dubbed “Continue the Comeback.”  

Asked the question about his endorsement history Wednesday, Snyder said, “I think I probably have in the past, but nothing as important as this in terms of my successor.” 

The Governor said this was something he’s been looking forward to for eight years, dating back to when Snyder picked Calley to be his running mate. 

“That’s an important aspect I looked at when I had the opportunity to ask Brian,” Snyder said, adding later, “Let’s figure out how to have good succession of letting the next generation come in and run our state.” 

The Governor said Calley is the “best leader possible” to take Michigan to “an even higher level.” Snyder stressed civility and said “fighting doesn’t belong in our state.” 

Calley said it’s been an honor to serve alongside Snyder and called Michigan the “American comeback state.” 

On Thursday the Michigan Chamber of Commerce weighed into the Governor’s race by supporting the Attorney General, citing his experience in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of state government. 

“After careful consideration of candidate background and experience, positions on key issues, the ability to articulate a compelling vision for Michigan’s future and leadership skills, the Michigan Chamber has concluded that Bill Schuette is the candidate most well-qualified to lead state government and keep Michigan moving forward,” said Chamber President & CEO Rich Studley. 

Studley also heralded Schuette’s “bold vision” for Michigan’s future and his “independent track record of accomplishments.” 

The Chamber of Commerce endorsed Snyder in 2014 and then-Attorney General Mike Cox in 2010. 

 
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