Former VP Biden endorses Whitmer for governor, Stevens for Congress

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
Former Vice President Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Gretchen Whitmer to be the next governor of Michigan.

Biden is expected to campaign with Whitmer in southeast Michigan in the coming weeks, according to Whitmer's campaign.

Biden also endorsed Democrat Haley Stevens of Rochester Hills, who is running for an open seat in Congress in the 11th District against Republican businesswoman Lena Epstein. 

“Michigan’s middle-class families need a governor who knows how to get things done, and that’s why I’m endorsing Gretchen,” Biden said in a statement provided by the campaign.

“Gretchen has spent her whole life getting real results for the middle class, whether it was raising the minimum wage, or working to expand Medicaid. Gretchen’s got a real plan to fix the roads in Michigan and get our kids the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs. That’s exactly the kind of leadership Michigan needs in the governor’s office right now, and it’s why I’m so proud to be in Gretchen’s corner.”

Biden, a former U.S. senator from Delaware who was vice president under President Barack Obama, is said to be weighing a 2020 run for the White House against President Donald Trump. 

Biden considered a bid in 2016 but didn't enter the race in the aftermath of son Beau’s death in 2015 from brain cancer.

Whitmer and Stevens both said it's an "honor" to have Biden's support.

“From his work on the auto rescue to passing the Affordable Care Act, Vice President Biden has always had the backs of Michigan’s middle-class families. Thanks to Obamacare and the work we did in Lansing to expand Medicaid, more than 680,000 Michiganders now have access to health care," Whitmer said in a statement. 

"There’s still so much more important work to do, and I’m committed to building a better Michigan for all of us by finally fixing the damn roads, cleaning up our drinking water, and getting rid of the Snyder Retirement Tax once and for all. It’s time to get it done.”

Biden highlighted Stevens' work as chief of staff of the auto task force under Obama's Treasury Department.

“The Motor City makes cars, and Haley Stevens’ work as chief of staff on the auto rescue is a big part of why it still does,” Biden said.

“I am proud to endorse her campaign for Congress because I know she will work to reduce healthcare costs, grow our economy, and fight for Michigan’s working families.”

Biden also endorsed Democrat Elissa Slotkin for the U.S. House this spring. She is challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, in the 8th District.