Lt. Gov. Calley signals 2018 gubernatorial bid

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signaled his candidacy to be Michigan’s next governor Monday, launching an online ad in which he touts Republican-passed right-to-work and tax laws and talks about having an autistic daughter.

The ad and a new website hint at a May 30 announcement, which would coincide with the week of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference on Mackinac Island for influential business, political and civic leaders.

Gov. Rick Snyder cannot run for a third term in 2018 because of term limits. Calley, 40, is a former banker and state lawmaker who as lieutenant governor has advocated for disability, mental health and prescription drug abuse reforms.

In the ad, he says he has used daughter Reagan’s experience with autism “to help everyone in Michigan live a better life. I don’t shout it from the rooftop. That’s not my style. It’s not the grandstanding that matters. It’s winning for you.”

To date, no high-profile Republican has entered the race, though Attorney General Bill Schuette is expected to run and state Sen. Patrick Colbeck is considering it. Calley in the ad cites as accomplishments the 2012 laws that made union support voluntary in private and most public workplaces and “scrapping the old tax code” — a reference to a major 2011 overhaul in which business taxes were slashed while tax exemptions and credits were scaled back for pensioners, homeowners, low-income earners and taxpayers with children. He cast the tie-breaking vote after the GOP-led Senate deadlocked 19-19.

“I never raised my voice, but we got the right things done,” Calley says in the ad, before a narrator adds “and will again.”

Calley plans to speak with reporters after he and Snyder address the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon Monday. Calley’s moves were first reported by The Detroit News, which cited political consultant John Yob as saying the online campaign will cost roughly $500,000 over six weeks.

The ad is paid for by MIPAC, an independent political action committee formed for Calley in 2015. It raised $23,500 through 2016. Calley had nearly $610,000 in his lieutenant governor candidate committee as of Dec. 31 — money that could be used in a gubernatorial bid.

On the Democratic side, former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is the most prominent candidate to have announced, in January. Others running are former Detroit Health Department Executive Director Abdul El-Sayed, former Xerox Corp. executive Bill Cobbs, emergency medical services driver Kentiel White and Justin Giroux. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee is mulling whether to jump in.

Lesser-known Republican candidates include Saginaw doctor Jim Hines, Joseph Derose, Evan Space and Mark McFarlin.

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