Bishop Earns Detroit Chamber Endorsement

October 18, 2018


The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce has made an endorsement in what’s become the most expensive Congressional race in Michigan history.

The chamber’s political action committee offered public support on Wednesday for 8th District Republican Congressman Mike Bishop. Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, said Bishop’s, “service in Congress has been exemplary and the Chamber encourages voters to return him to Washington to continue his leadership on smart taxation and regulation, protecting the Great Lakes, and lowering the costs of college education.” Bishop said he was honored to, “once again earn the support of more than the 2/3 of the men and women of the Chamber PAC board required to earn this endorsement, and I am ready to continue to work with them toward a brighter for future for our region.”

Bishop is being challenged by Democrat Elissa Slotkin, whose spokesperson Laura Epstein responded to the announcement by saying, “Elissa Slotkin is proud to have the support of local leaders and community groups, including Democrats and Republicans, and if elected, she will work hard in Congress on behalf of all Michigan small-business owners.” Slotkin has brought the race to a statistical dead-heat in a district Bishop won by 17 points in 2016. According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, the 8th District race is now the most expensive congressional race in Michigan history, with spending already exceeding $16.5 million with less than three weeks before the Nov. 6 election.

In a surprise move, the chamber also endorsed Democrat Gretchen Whitmer in her race against Republican Bill Schuette for Governor, the first Democrat they’ve backed for that post since 1990. The chamber PAC cited Whitmer’s support for infrastructure funding, including construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, her votes as a state senator for Detroit’s bankruptcy deal and expansion of the state’s Medicaid program. (JK)

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Detroit Chamber backs Whitmer for governor

October 17, 2018

The Detroit News

By: Jonathan Oosting

The Detroit Regional Chamber is recommending voters split their tickets on Nov. 6 with new endorsements that include Democrat Gretchen Whitmer for governor and Republican Tom Leonard for attorney general.

The business group announced Wednesday it is also backing Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow for re-election, Republican-nominated Michigan Supreme Court justices Beth Clement and Kurtis Wilder, and incumbent U.S. House members from both sides of the aisle.

The gubernatorial endorsement is a notable pickup for Whitmer in her race against Republican Bill Schuette, who is backed by most other major business advocacy organizations, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Rapids Chamber and Business Leaders for Michigan.

They are competing to take on term-limited Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican whom the chamber endorsed in 2010 and 2014.

But it’s Whitmer, the Democrat, who is “best suited to carry forward the positive trajectory established the last eight years and better reflects the Chamber’s key priorities,” Brad Williams, vice president of government relations, said in a statement.

“While it is rare for an elected official to be fully aligned with the Chamber’s pro-growth and pro-smart investment policies, Whitmer’s strong support for regional transit, funding for critical infrastructure, and her past support for the Detroit Grand Bargain, Healthy Michigan, and the Gordie Howe International Bridge make her the candidate that best aligns with the Chamber’s agenda.”

If elected, Whitmer said she’s “ready to partner with the Detroit Chamber and everyone else who wants to make Michigan the place people move to for opportunity again.”

The endorsements announced Wednesday were decided by the Detroit chamber’s political action committee and required a two-thirds vote among board members.

The PAC did not endorse in the 11th Congressional District race between Democrat Haley Stevens and Republican Lena Epstein, who are competing to replace retiring Rep. Dave Trott, R-Birmingham.

Board members also didn’t reach consensus on a preferred candidate in the Secretary of State race between Democrat Jocelyn Benson and Republican Mary Treder Lang.

In endorsing Leonard over Democrat Dana Nessel in the attorney general’s race, the chamber said the state House speaker and former Genesee County assistant prosecutor has “consistently exercised the judgment needed to hold wrongdoers accountable, create an environment hospitable to growth, and represent the people’s interest.”

The chamber did not endorse in the Republican primary to take on Stabenow and is again backing her in her general election match-up against Farmington Hills businessman John James, who was endorsed this month by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Stabenow “has been a tremendous champion for Michigan in Congress,” Williams said.

In one of the state’s most closely watched congressional campaigns, the Detroit chamber endorsed incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester over Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin of Holly.

The chamber also endorsed re-election bids by incumbent Republican Reps. Jack Bergman, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar, Fred Upton, Tim Walberg and Paul Mitchell, along with Democratic Reps. Debbie Dingell Brenda Lawrence and 9th District favorite Andy Levin, a Democrat running to replace his retiring father Rep. Sander Levin.

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Detroit chamber PAC backs Whitmer for governor

October 17, 2018

Crain’s Detroit 

By: Chad Livengood

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s political action committee is splitting its ticket this year in election endorsements at the top of the November ballot.

The chamber PAC’s board of directors on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Gretchen Whitmer for governor over Republican Bill Schuette, while siding with Republican House Speaker Tom Leonard to succeed Schuette as attorney general over Democrat Dana Nessel.

In endorsing Whitmer, the chamber PAC cited Whitmer’s support for the group’s priorities in regional transit, infrastructure funding and construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge as well as her past votes as a state senator for Detroit’s bankruptcy “grand bargain” and expansion of the Medicaid program for the working poor.

“Gretchen has a better record on those and a better plan,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Whitmer’s commitment to seeing through construction of the Gordie Howe bridge was stronger than Schuette’s publicly stated support for both the Gordie Howe project as well as the Moroun family’s desire to construct a replacement span for the aging Ambassador Bridge, Williams said.

“That’s certainly an acceptable opinion,” Williams said of Schuette’s support for multiple new bridges over the Detroit River. “But for us, getting the Gordie Howe bridge is going to require laser focus getting that done.”

Whitmer’s support of a citywide education commission in Detroit to manage public and charter schools in the city was another factor in the chamber’s endorsement, Williams said.

The chamber PAC’s endorsement of Whitmer is the first time the regional business organization has backed a Democrat for governor since 1990, when the group endorsed then-Gov. Jim Blanchard’s re-election over Republican John Engler, Williams said.

The Detroit chamber’s endorsement of Whitmer for governor makes it one of the only major business groups in Michigan to buck Schuette’s campaign to occupy the governor’s office next year.

To date, Schuette has racked up endorsements from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Business Leaders for Michigan, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Manufacturers Association, the Michigan Restaurant Association, the Small Business Association of Michigan and the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.

In the August primary, the chamber’s PAC endorsed Whitmer over her two primary opponents and backed Lt. Gov. Brian Calley over Schuette. Since soundly defeating Calley in the primary, Schuette has not been able to win the endorsement of outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who has been closely aligned with the Detroit Regional Chamber during his eight years in office.

“This endorsement was about Senator Whitmer, not about the attorney general,” Williams said in a conference call with reporters. “Certainly, (Schuette) has served this state honorably for 34, 35 years and is certainly qualified to be governor of this state.”

The Detroit Chamber’s PAC previously endorsed Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s re-election before Detroit businessman John E. James won the August primary.

“Her leadership and willingness to work across the aisle in Washington has helped move Michigan in a positive direction,” Williams said in a statement.

The Detroit chamber PAC did not endorse in the secretary of state’s race between Democrat Jocelyn Benson and Republican Mary Treder Lang after the PAC’s board could not reach a consensus.

The PAC’s bylaws requires a two-thirds supermajority among board members to issue an endorsement, Williams said.

In competitive congressional races, the chamber’s PAC also is not endorsing in the hotly contested 11th Congressional District race between Vesco Oil Co. co-owner Lena Epstein and Haley Stevens, a former chief of staff to President Barack Obama’s auto bailout task force.

“This two-thirds threshold we put in place is a high bar to clear — as I learned today,” Williams told reporters. “It’s not always neat and tidy.”

In the 8th Congressional District, the Detroit chamber’s PAC endorsed U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop’s re-election against Democratic challenger Elissa Slotkin.

The contentious Bishop-Slotkin race is now the most expensive congressional race in Michigan history, with spending topping $16.5 million and three more weeks to go before the Nov. 6 election, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

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Detroit Regional Chamber PAC Announces State Legislature Endorsements

DETROIT, July 11, 2018  Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board of Directors announced endorsements for the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives.  The endorsements include:

Michigan Senate

1st District – Stephanie Chang (D)

2nd District – Adam Hollier (D)

3rd District – Sylvia Santana (D)

4th District – Marshall Bullock (D)

5th District – David Knezek (D)

6th District – Robert Kosowski (D)

7th District – Laura Cox (R)

8th District – Peter Lucido (R)

10th District – Henry Yanez (D)

11th District – Jeremy Moss (D)

12th District – Jim Tedder (R)

13th District – Marty Knollenberg (R)

14th District – Ruth Johnson (R)

16th District – Mike Shirkey (R)

17th District – Dale Zorn (R)

23rd District – Curtis Hertel (D)

24th District – Kelly Rossman-McKinney (D)

27th District – Jim Ananich (D)

28th District – Peter MacGregor (R)

29th District – Chris Afendoulis (R)

31st District – Kevin Daley (R)

32nd District – Ken Horn (R)

33rd District – Rick Outman (R)

35th District – Curt VanderWall (R)

36th District – Jim Stamas (R)

37th District – Wayne Schmidt (R)

Michigan House of Representatives

1st District – Tenisha Yancey (D)

2nd District – Joseph Tate (D)

3rd District – Wendell Byrd (D)

4th District – Rico Razo (D)

5th District – Rita Ross (D)

8th District – Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D)

10th District – Leslie Love (D)

11th District – Jewell Jones (D)

12th District – Alex Garza (D)

13th District – Frank Liberati (D)

15th District – Abdullah Hammoud (D)

17th District – Joe Bellino (R)

18th District – Kevin Hertel (D)

22nd District – John Chirkun (D)

23rd District – Darrin Camilleri (D)

26th District – Jim Ellison (D)

27th District – Robert Wittenberg (D)

28th District – Patrick Green (D)

30th District – Diana Farrington (R)

31st District – William Sowerby (D)

37th District – Christine Greig (D)

38th District – Kathy Crawford (R)

41st District – Doug Teitz (R)

43rd District – Andrea Schroeder (R)

45th District – Michael Webber (R)

47th District – Hank Vaupel (R)

50th District – Tim Sneller (D)

52nd District – Donna Lasinski (D)

55th District – Rebekah Warren (D)

56th District – Jason Sheppard (R)

60th District – Jon Hoadley (D)

61st District – Brandt Iden (R)

63rd District – David Maturen (R)

66th District – Beth Griffin (R)

68th District – Sarah Anthony (D)

71st District – Chuck Cascarilla (R)

73rd District – Lynn Afendoulis (R)

74th District – Mark Huizenga  (R)

80th District – Mary Whiteford (R)

85th District – Ben Frederick (R)

87th District – Julie Calley (R)

89th District – Jim Lilly (R)

91st District – Greg VanWoerkom (R)

93rd District – Graham Filler (R)

100th District – Scott VanSingel (R)

104th District – Larry Inman (R)

107th District – Lee Chatfield (R)

“Michigan’s turnaround in the last eight years has been remarkable. We are confident that these candidates for the Legislature will be key allies for our next governor to continue Michigan’s growth,” said Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities. After careful consideration, the Board made the endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey, input from PAC members and individual interactions.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC

The Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) was the first major organization to announce its support for Gov. Rick Snyder in the 2010 Republican primary and Mayor Mike Duggan’s write-in campaign in the 2013 Detroit mayoral primary. The Chamber PAC prides itself on being one of the most sought after, bipartisan endorsements in Michigan and focuses in large part on candidates’ stances on business issues and the potential to represent the regional business community.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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