Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley joins 2018 gubernatorial race

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 1:22pm

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley announced Tuesday morning he will be running for governor in 2018. According to the Detroit Free Press, this is a position Calley has been hinting at for months, and the announcement follows a statement made to reporters on Monday in which Calley said “stay tuned for some big news.”

In a news release announcing his candidacy, Calley referenced the nationwide recession, which affected the state of Michigan between the years of 2000 and 2009, and spoke of his contributions to bring Michigan out of the economic crisis.

"We set out to make Michigan the comeback state and that’s exactly what we did,” Calley said. “I am running for governor to build on this strong foundation and make Michigan the most prosperous state in the nation.”

On Monday, Gov. Rick Snyder expressed his support for the work Calley has done thus far, but did not give an official endorsement.

"This is about fundamentally making Michigan a great place to live work and play for generations to come," Snyder said. "The foundation is set and let's go. And I'm proud to have a wonderful partner who has … led so many different initiatives that are making a difference in Michigan's future."

Calley’s candidacy has also been met with backlash, specifically from several major Democrats. In a statement regarding Calley’s announcement, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon denounced the Snyder administration and described his disapproval with the current candidates for the Republican primary.

“In the least anticipated announcement since his last announcement, Brian Calley will try to convince the people of Michigan it's a good idea to let him continue the failed administration he and Rick Snyder started,” Dillon said. “That might easily qualify as the last thing our state needs right now if Bill Schuette wasn’t already in the race. Instead, the Republican primary is a choice between the ineffectual cheerleader of a failed Snyder administration and a glory hound attorney general whose political ambitions are his only priority.”

Current Republican candidates running for the position include Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who announced his candidacy in September, Dr. Jim Hines of Saginaw Township, and Canton’s state Sen. Patrick Colbeck.

In April, Calley spent $500,000 on online advertising in order to promote his qualifications, the Detroit Free Press reported, and in October he began a statewide tour in which he met with Michigan citizens to hear their concerns before deciding whether to run for governor. But in holding off announcement of his candidacy, Calley currently sits behind Republican candidate Schuette, who has a current campaign cash balance of $2.1 million. According to the last report released on Calley, his current balance stands at about $1.2 million. Hines has given his own campaign over $500,000 and Colbeck, who has garnered an array of conservative endorsements including Fox News host Sean Hannity, sits with a current campaign account of $13,232. 

Democratic candidates in the race for governor have also been working on their campaign funds. Gretchen Whitmer has raised $2.3 million, Abdul El-Sayed $1.6 million and Shri Thanedar has contributed $6 million to his own campaign. Also running on the Democratic side are William Cobbs of Farmington Hills and Kentiel White of Southgate.