Former state Senator Gretchen Whitmer is the first candidate to formally declare she’s running for governor of Michigan in 2018. She filed the documents with elections officials that allow her to fundraise and spend money on campaigning.
She announced her intentions in an e-mail blast. She has also hired a press secretary and a fundraising director.
The primary isn’t until August of 2018, but Whitmer says she thinks getting an early start is a good idea.
“This is a huge state,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of different issues, and I think it’s really going to be important to meet with people, to make sure the platform has been robustly debated, and that we engage with people all across the debate, and I’m excited.”
The veteran lawmaker says her experience is a bonus.
“I’m ready to do this,” she said, “and I am a believer in the people of this state, and I’m excited to get out there and really put together this campaign.”
Whitmer may have competition for the Democratic nomination as Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) weighs a bid.
“Congressman Kildee appreciates the encouragement he is getting from across the state to run for governor,” said Kildee’s communications director Mitchell Rivard. “Right now, he is focused on representing his constituents in Congress, and in the coming months he will make a decision about where he can do the most good for Michigan families.”
On the Republican side, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley are potential candidates.
Calley had nothing to say. Schuette’s spokesman said it’s still early to formally launch a campaign, but made a point of listing some accomplishments in his statement.
“America just finished a long election cycle,” said Schuette’s communications director John Sellek, “and Michigan residents are happily focused on their families during the holidays, so Attorney General Schuette will keep his focus on his job by working for justice in Flint, supporting victims of human trafficking, and teaming up with local law enforcement to find and prosecute criminals tied to abandoned rape kits.”
With the Democratic and Republican primaries still 20 months away, there’s also plenty of time for candidates to declare and for more people to join. It will be an open race with Republican Governor Rick Snyder barred from running again by term limits.