Calley hints at imminent gubernatorial run

Francis X. Donnelly and Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News

Detroit — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley stopped short of saying Monday that he is running for governor next year, but the Portland Republican promised “big news” on Tuesday.

Calley made the comment during a press conference where Gov. Rick Snyder talked about the need to continue his impact on Michigan past 2018 and that Calley was just the person to do it.

“You won’t have to wait for long. Stay tuned,” the 40-year-old lieutenant governor told a gaggle of reporters at Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow in Detroit.

Calley is expected to make the formal announcement launching his campaign on Tuesday. He has scheduled appearances.

During the short press conference, Snyder lauded the work done by Calley during his seven years as second-in-charge. Specifically, he complimented the work done by Calley in taking the lead on tax reform, mental health and the fight against opioid abuse.

“I’m proud to have such a wonderful partner,” Snyder said.

The governor said Michigan needs someone with experience to lead the state after his tenure runs out. Snyder can’t run again because of term limits.

Attorney General Bill Schuette has already said he is running for the Republican nomination and is considered the early front runner. Other GOP candidates include state Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton and Saginaw obstetrician Jim Hines.

Snyder was also expected to attend a private fundraiser for Calley later Monday at the Orchard Lake home of Colby and Mark Mitchell, co-founder of the Lorient private investment firm and former chief executive of U.S. Medical Management.

An invitation obtained by The Detroit News listed five event chairs who each paid and raised at least $25,000 to attend the reception, including real estate investor Joe Barbat and Centria Health CEO Scott Barry.

Other donor “opportunities” included $500 for a regular ticket, $5,000 to be part of the host committee and $10,000 to be an event co-chair, according to the invitation.

While Calley has not yet announced any plans to run for governor, he has continued to raise money through his lieutenant governor candidate committee even though he cannot seek re-election to that post under the state’s term limits law.

Calley had raised more than $1.5 million through Oct. 20, according to a campaign finance document filed with the state. He reported roughly $1.17 million in cash reserves at that time.

Attorney General Bill Schuette, an early front runner for the GOP nomination, had built up a $2.3 million war chest by late October.