Snyder (Dale G. Young / The Detroit News)
Lansing— After months of standing on the political sidelines, Gov. Rick Snyder plans to officially kick off his bid for a second term Monday during a six-city, two-day statewide tour, the governor’s campaign said Thursday.
The Republican governor has resisted for months being labeled a candidate for governor this year, despite airing a television advertisement touting his accomplishments last fall, hiring campaign staff and pouring more than $600,000 Sunday into a Super Bowl ad.
Snyder, of Ann Arbor, will begin his tour with an event Monday morning at the auto supply company James Group International’s headquarters on Fort Street in southwest Detroit, according his re-election campaign.
The governor will make other campaign stops Monday afternoon at the Lansing headquarters of the Two Men and a Truck moving company and Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market.
Campaign events are scheduled Tuesday at Alfie Embroidery in Traverse City, Zehnder’s resturant in Frankenmuth and at Oakland Community College’s Farmington Hills campus on Orchard Lake Road. The events are invite-only and not open to the public, a campaign spokesman said.
Snyder will likely face Democrat Mark Schauer in the fall general election. Schauer is a former congressman and state legislator from Battle Creek.
National political handicapers have rated Michigan’s governor’s race competitive this year, though Snyder has led Schauer in public polls.
The Cook and Rothenberg political reports rate the race as a toss-up, while the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics says the contest leans toward the incumbent Republican.
David Dulio, chairman of the political science department at Oakland University, said Snyder has had an “interesting first term on many levels” after angering liberals by signing a right-to-work law and angering conservatives by pushing for a massive expansion of Medicaid health insurance for the poor.
“When you’re looking toward a second term, you want to be making more friends than making enemies,” Dulio said.
Schauer’s campaign has dubbed Snyder’s campaign rollout a “rebranding tour” of his record as Michigan’s chief executive.
“After cutting over $1 billion from education and taxing seniors’ retirement to pay for a huge corporate tax break that’s not creating jobs, it’s no surprise that the governor is so anxious to whitewash his record,” Schauer spokesman Zack Pohl said Thursday. “The people of Michigan won’t be fooled.”
Snyder, a former computer executive and venture capitalist, burst onto the political scene four years ago this weekend when he aired his first “one tough nerd” ad during the Super Bowl.
“He’s doing it all over again,” said Bill Ballenger, associate editor of Inside Michigan Politics, a Lansing publication. “He’s timed this perfectly so he’s going to announce re-election the day after the Super Bowl ad.”
But Snyder may not deploy the same playbook this time as he faces the electorate for re-election, Ballenger said.
“I imagine what he’s going to do is say ‘I’ve made everything happen that I said would happen’ and the Democrats are going to go crazy and say that’s a lie,” Ballenger said.