Skubick: Will Kildee make jump from Congress to Governor’s office?

Dan Kildee
In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2014, Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich. speaks in Livonia, Mich. Kildee says he supports President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A prominent figure in the Flint water crisis is reportedly running for governor but only if Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan does not run.

Nobody is actually running for governor until he or she announces it, but here’s the current thinking in the Congressman Dan Kildee camp.

“If Mike Duggan does not run for governor it’s a fair conclusion that Dan Kildee will.”

“I think that’s an accurate conclusion,” says Republican consultant John Truscott.

State Rep. Pam Farris agrees, “that’s what I’m reading and hearing.”

For the past six years or so, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan has repeatedly been asked if he will run for governor and he has repeatedly said no.

And if that holds, Kildee will run, barring a change of heart.

The Democratic congressman has immersed himself in the Flint water crisis and the crisis has helped to re-shape his thinking about running for governor.

Take for example his public TV appearance last December. When he was asked if he was running, he downplayed the possibility.

“I mean it’s something I have it in the back of my mind, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.” When asked what he would do if he had to decide that day he said, “if I had to decide today, I’d stay in Congress. I love this job.”

But that was then and now is now and an inside source explains that Mr. Kildee’s thinking has changed. Given what happened in Flint, Mr. Kildee privately believes, “it matters who sits in that governor’s chair…” and “the state does not need the philosophy of another Rick Snyder.”

Flint Democrat Rep. Pam Farris reacts to the Kildee potential candidacy, “Dan is genuinely concerned, genuinely upset about what’s happened in Flint and working towards trying to help.”

The state Republican party has harshly criticized some Democrats for allegedly trying to exploit the Flint water crisis for their own political gain and it’s a good bet they’ll lay the same thing on Mr. Kildee.

But could Republicans go too far? John Truscott thinks so. “Republicans could go too far. I think it’s pretty tough to criticize somebody for defending his own constituents.”

Assuming Mr. Kildee runs, the 2018 primary for governor could be very crowded.

Macomb County executive Mark Hackel could run, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuage and the former Senate democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer will likely run. In fact, she has a fundraiser set for Tuesday night, as an unannounced candidate for governor.

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