Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is expected to announce his long-anticipated candidacy for governor at a barbecue in his hometown of Midland today.
Schuette enters the race as the presumed Republican front-runner, as he seeks to cap a political career that began with an election 33 years ago, when Schuette defeated U.S. Rep. Don Albosta, a three-term Democratic congressman from St. Charles.
As attorney general since 2011, Schuette has brought charges against 13 current or former state and City of Flint officials in connection with the Flint drinking water crisis and championed campaigns against human trafficking and school bullying.
He's clashed with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder over access to Flint-related documents and issues ranging from a court case over school employee retirement funds to transgender bathrooms and regulation of coal-fired power plants. He's also faced criticism for his office's defense of the state's gay marriage ban, which was ultimately overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015.
Since leaving Congress in 1990 for an unsuccessful attempt to defeat then U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit —- the only election Schuette has lost — Schuette, 63, has held posts in every branch of state government.
He first served in the executive as Gov. John Engler’s director of agriculture from 1991-94, then in the Legislature as a state senator from 1995-2002, followed by a stint in the judiciary as a Michigan Court of Appeals judge from 2002-09, before he won election to his current post in 2010.
Schuette is expected to make his announcement at a 5:30 p.m. barbecue at the Midland County Fairgrounds.
The liberal group Progress Michigan plans a rally nearby in opposition to Schuette's candidacy.
Schuette would join declared Republican candidates Dr. Jim Hines, a Saginaw physician; Sen. Patrick Colbeck, a Canton aerospace engineer; insurance agent Joseph DeRose of Williamston, private investigator Mark McFarrlin of Pinconning, and Evan Space, a Lansing student and small business owner.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is also expected to join the Republican race to replace Snyder, who can't run again because of term limits.
Schuette's investigators said Snyder's office was slow turning over certain records during the Flint investigation and Schuette said he was unable to interview Snyder. The governor's attorney said Snyder was awaiting receipt of an investigative subpoena, which he never received.
Last year, Snyder had to pursue a Michigan Supreme Court appeal with his own attorneys after Schuette said he was not prepared to fight a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling requiring the state to reimburse school employees for hundreds of millions of dollars in pension charges deducted from their paychecks and held in escrow.
Without Snyder's support, Schuette fought the Obama administration's requirement that public schools allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that conform with their gender identity. He has also challenged federal regulations aimed at reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants, without Snyder's support.
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