Walker endorses in Michigan governor race

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette picked up another national endorsement this week as he seeks Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2018.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who ran for president last year but lost to President Donald Trump in the GOP primary, backed Schuette’s campaign for governor and sent out a fundraising email on his behalf.

"In the Midwest, we are known as a manufacturing powerhouse, and Bill is going to help continue that going forward,” Walker said in a statement.

“On behalf of all the people who love freedom across this country, I hope you'll support Bill and really work hard for him between now and next year's election."

Schuette this week also signed a pledge to oppose and veto all efforts to increase taxes if he were elected governor. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is the brainchild of anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist.

The Midland Republican is competing for the Republican nomination against Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, state Sen. Patrick Colbeck and Saginaw obstetrician Jim Hines.

Democrats running for the post include former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed and Ann Arbor businessman Shri Thanedar.

“The Democrats are determined to turn Michigan back into the liberal stronghold it once was,” Walker warned Republicans in his fundraising pitch, calling Schuette a “true conservative” who can fight back.

Entrepreneur joins Dem race to replace Trott

Another candidate has joined the Democratic primary race in Michigan’s 11th District, where U.S. Republican Rep. Dave Trott of Birmingham is retiring.

Entrepreneur Suneel Gupta, 38, of Birmingham was raised in Novi, graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and co-founded Rise, a mobile health company in 2013, with older brother Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN.

Suneel Gupta previously served as vice president of product development for then-startup GroupOn Inc., based in Chicago, before working in the San Francisco Bay area for several years. Earlier this year, he was a Harvard University as a visiting scholar.

Gupta’s video announcing his campaign features his mother, who 50 years ago became the first female engineer at Ford Motor Co. After more than 30 years, she and his father were both laid off by Ford in 2001 – something Gupta blames on NAFTA.

“Politicians continue to put corporate profits before working families. That’s wrong. I’m not a politician, I’m an entrepreneur,” Gupta says in the video. “I’ve created good paying american jobs and balanced budgets. I know how to get this done.”

AG fires back in defending Flint crisis prosecutions

Bill Schuette defended himself Wednesday against jabs from Lt. Gov. Brian Calley that Schuette is “politicizing” the Flint water contamination crisis.

When a reporter asked about Calley’s accusation last week when announcing his candidacy for governor, Schuette suggested, without naming anyone, that certain people are attempting to hide the truth of the Flint water crisis.

The comments came during a year-end press conference in which Schuette was touting his office’s accomplishments for 2017.

“I took an oath to enforce the law and to ignore or think that we’re just gonna sweep it under the rug when 12 people died and kids were poisoned — if I didn’t I’d be violating my oath of office if I didn’t have this investigation and the chips fall where they may,” Schuette said, referring to the 2014-15 Flint-area Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and the lead contamination of the city’s water.

“People can think or say whatever they want about Bill Schuette. I’m gonna do my job, period. And those that would want to sweep it aside or ignore it — that’s just not true. That’s nonsense.”

Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke, Jonathan Oosting and Michael Gerstein