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Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero Saturday morning is expected to announce Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence as his running mate.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reported Friday morning that Lawrence was the front-runner for the job and a person close to the Bernero campaign told The Associated Press Friday that Lawrence has been selected. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the campaign has not yet announced her name.
A 9:30 a.m. Saturday announcement is planned.
Congressman Sander Levin issued a statement Friday afternoon saying Lawrence is an “outstanding pick” for Lt. Governor.
“Mayor Lawrence is an experienced administrator and passionate advocate for families and communities,” Levin said. “As Mayor she has brought forward innovative ideas and been focused on the issues like economic development, transportation and foreclosure relief.
The statement went on to say Lawrence “is an effective campaigner and will be a full partner for Virg Bernero in Lansing. Together they can communicate the importance of standing up for Main Street and accelerating the path of economic recovery in our State.”
Lawrence was elected the first black and first woman mayor of Southfield in 2001.
The Bernero campaign says it plans to introduce its lieutenant governor choice Saturday morning at Detroit’s Cobo Center, where Democrats are holding their state convention. The two are to start a statewide “Fighting for Main Street Tour” Monday.
Although spokesman Cullen Schwarz would neither confirm nor deny that Bernero has chosen Lawrence, he said that “this lieutenant governor candidate was the first and only candidate to be offered the job.”
Six people were selected for in-depth interviews before Bernero settled on his running mate, although more were approached about being on the ticket, Schwarz said. Bernero acknowledged Thursday that some prospective candidates in the public and private sectors weren’t interested in running for lieutenant governor.
“This campaign cast a very wide net at the beginning of the process,” Schwarz said. Some potential running mates “were not in a position in their lives to make a career change.”
The lieutenant governor candidate Bernero has chosen “very much shares Virg’s passion for helping working people” and is someone “Virg feels he can work with very well,” Schwarz said.
T.J. Bucholz, who had been the spokesman for Bernero’s Democratic rival, House Speaker Andy Dillon, said Lawrence is an excellent choice and one that Dillon had been considering as well.
“She brings a wide range of experience … (and) resonates with the Democratic base as well,” Bucholz said. “She adds the diversity on the ticket that the Democratic Party sorely needs this cycle.”
GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder announced Wednesday that state Rep. Brian Calley of Portland will be his running mate.
© MMX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to his report.