Spokeswoman denies Snyder has made White House decision

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

A Snyder administration spokeswoman denied a report Wednesday that the Republican governor has decided against running for president in 2016.

Political news organization Politico reported, based on two unnamed sources "familiar with his planning," that Gov. Rick Snyder has decided against a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in part because of the time he would need to spend for out-of-state travel. Six Republicans have formally announced they will run, and others such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are considering their options.

But Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel denied the report, saying "Nothing has changed." The governor has said he would make a decision in the next couple of months.

Snyder still is scheduled to travel to New York City on Thursday for a Site Selection private dinner and a likely Friday morning visit to the New York Stock Exchange, followed by a lunch briefing with Bloomberg News.

"The governor is still traveling to New York as planned to tell the Michigan comeback story," said spokesman Jarrod Agen. "He has not made any official announcements or decisions about the presidential campaign."

Snyder is said to be weighing the immediate summer-long, out-of-state travel commitment of a presidential campaign with his unfinished initiatives of overhauling Detroit schools and getting a new deal with lawmakers on road funding.

"He still wants to make sure the country knows all of the great things that have been accomplished in Michigan in the last four years," Agen said.

A week ago, Snyder called published reports that he told former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman he's decided to make a presidential bid a "lot of speculation."

But the second-term Republican governor has refused for months to shoot down speculation that he may launch a campaign for the White House. Asked if it was fair to say he is considering a run for president, Snyder recently told The News: "It is fair to say I am just watching what's happening."

Almost two weeks ago, he met with influential Republicans in Las Vegas at a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting, including billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a GOP mega donor and RJC board member.

He also attended a Milken Institute conference in California to participate in a session on Detroit's bankruptcy with former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert.

Despite Snyder's comment, Coleman didn't back down.

"I noted that the field of potential Republican presidential candidates was far from complete and made specific mention of Gov. Snyder, who has an impressive record of accomplishment," Coleman said in an email to The Detroit News. "It was my clear impression, from my conversation with him, that he is running. However, I will leave it up to Gov. Snyder to confirm whether or not he is officially a candidate."

Coleman plans to support South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, should Graham formally enter the field of Republican presidential candidates.

dshepardson@detroitnews.com