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Whitmer opens door to presidential endorsement in 'short order'

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer opened the door to endorsing a Democratic presidential candidate on Wednesday, saying "a lot of things have changed in the last 72 hours."

Whitmer, a Democrat who had previously stayed out of the nomination race, told reporters that she'll probably be ready to have a "more in-depth conversation" on her thoughts "in the near future."

"If I get involved, you’ll probably hear from me in short order," Whitmer added.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she may make a  presidential endorsement in 'short order.'

The first-term governor made the comments a day after former Vice President Joe Biden won a majority of the 14 states that voted on Super Tuesday and six days before Michigan's Tuesday election. Earlier Wednesday, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden.

In recent days, Biden's campaign has gained steam and he has won endorsements from a handful of former Democratic presidential candidates, including Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg.

There are four Democratic candidates remaining in the race: Biden; Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders; Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, endorsed Whitmer's primary opponent in 2018, Abdul El-Sayed. Sanders won Michigan's 2016 presidential primary over Hillary Clinton by 1.4 percentage points.

Whitmer won Michigan's race for governor over Republican Bill Schuette by 9 percentage points.

She has become an emerging star in the Democratic Party, giving the party's response to President's Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Feb. 4.

cmauger@detroitnews.com