UAW President Bob King addresses attendees at the Automotive News World Congress at the Detroit Marriot Renaissance Center. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Detroit — United Auto Workers President Bob King said Wednesday the union plans to endorse former Rep. Mark Schauer in the coming months in his bid to become governor.
“I expect the union will come out in strong support of Mark Schauer,” King told reporters about the Democrat challenging Gov. Rick Snyder after a speech here at the Automotive News World Congress. “... I believe Mark will be an outstanding governor.”
King declined to say if he recently had called state Democratic Senate Leader Gretchen Whitmer and encouraged her to run for governor, as Whitmer’s office has confirmed took place.
“I am going to dodge your question away,” King said.
The union president’s comments Wednesday about the UAW’s support of Schauer came after word leaked out earlier this week that King had made an overture to Whitmer to reconsider her decision not to challenge Republican incumbent Snyder.
King’s political maneuvering upset many Democrats and caused one ally of Schauer’s campaign Wednesday to come to his defense
“Mark Schauer is the right choice for governor and MNA will proudly continue to work within a broad, cohesive effort to make sure he wins,” John Armelagos, president of the Michigan Nurses Association, said in a statement. “Anyone in the labor community who spreads doubts about Mark’s ability to win clearly doesn’t know Mark.”
King predicted the union will endorse Schauer formally by April. He also noted the union hasn’t officially endorsed Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, for U.S. Senate, but “obviously we’re going to.”
Schauer is a Battle Creek Democrat who lost a bid for re-election to the U.S. House in 2011.
King said he believes Snyder is beatable.
“He has hurt so many people and really hurt industry in this state,” King said.
Detroit News Staff Writer Chad Livengood contributed.