Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's reelection campaign announces key staff

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's reelection campaign revealed the names of senior staff members Friday who will guide the Democrat's bid for a second term leading state government.

Whitmer has not yet held a formal campaign launch event for 2022 but is taking steps to make her run a reality, including gathering petition signatures and raising millions of dollars to bolster her effort in a battleground state that President Joe Biden won by 3 percentage points last year.

Preston Elliott, whom Friday's announcement described as political veteran with nearly two decades of experience, will be Whitmer's campaign manager. Amanda Stitt, a Flint native and a longtime Michigan political consultant, will be the chief strategist.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

"I’m thrilled to have a talented, battle-tested team on board to reelect Gov.Whitmer and ensure Michiganders have a leader who will work with anyone to fight for hardworking families, small businesses and communities," Elliott said in a statement. "Gov. Whitmer made the largest investment in K-12 schools in history without raising taxes, moved dirt to fix the damn roads, and created 15,000 new auto jobs — that’s the kind of leadership Michiganders deserve."

In 2020, Elliott worked on the campaign of Democrat MJ Hegar who unsuccessfully attempted to unseat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Elliott has previously aided U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana.

Maeve Coyle will be the Whitmer campaign's communication director, Ron Owens will  be the political director, Heather Ricketts will be the compliance director and Julia Goldman will the digital director. In addition, Brieann Sauer will be the finance director.

Since the 2018 election, 11 Republicans have formed new campaign fundraising committees to potentially challenge Whitmer next year. Among them are former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, Metro Detroit businessman Kevin Rinke and chiropractor Garrett Soldano.

Whitmer, a former state lawmaker, won her first term in office in November 2018 over then-Attorney General Bill Schuette by 9 percentage points.

The Democrat'scampaign committee reported having more than $10 million on hand, in July, well above what her predecessor, Republican Rick Snyder, had entering 2014 when he won reelection.

cmauger@detroitnews.com