This story has been updated to include a statement from Gov. Rick Snyder's spokesperson.
LANSING – Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer of Michigan will seek the Democratic nomination for governor, a source close to him confirmed Tuesday. The source spoke on background but is part of Schauer’s decision-making circle and is currently acting in an informal advisory position as the former lawmaker prepares for a run.
Schauer did not return calls seeking comment for this story. However, an elected official from Ingham County confirmed that Schauer had personally told him that he would seek the nomination.
The one-term congressman from Battle Creek has been mentioned as a possible candidate for months, with a growing chorus singing his praises and two recent polls showing he could likely oust Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in November 2014.
On Tuesday, Politico reported on a polling memo strategically leaked by the Democratic Governors Association, which shows Snyder losing to Schauer.
“The bad news for Snyder is that undecided voters are much more likely to split for the Democratic candidate: they voted for Obama over Romney by 24 points and they are 18 points more likely to identify with the Democratic Party than with the Republican Party,” [Democratic pollster Geoff] Garin wrote [in the leaked memo]. “After hearing a brief positive description of Mark Schauer’s background, voters prefer Schauer over Rick Snyder by 54 percent to 38 percent. When given this alternative to the incumbent, independent voters favor Schauer by 16 points.”
A similar poll by Lansing-based EPIC MRA in April had similar findings, reported MLive.com.
Snyder, a first-time governor and political neophyte, took a serious bruising in December, when he helped the Republican-controlled legislature pass a controversial “right to work” initiative without public hearings or much public discussion. He has also signed into law a massive tax cut, which shifted the burden of taxes from businesses to citizens by taxing senior pensions and eliminating the earned-income tax credit for lower income Michiganders.
Schauer served in Congress for one term, riding into office on the Obama sweep of 2008. He served Michigan’s conservative 7th congressional district, which includes Calhoun and Jackson counties. He was ousted from that seat in Tea Party sweep of 2010 by Tim Walberg.
Since leaving office, Schauer has been running the BlueGreen Alliance, a green-energy job consortium. He also worked closely with organized labor. In fact, during “right to work” protests in December, Schauer was pepper-sprayed by Michigan state troopers while attempting to move protesters away from the base of the state capitol.
Snyder's office was not immediately available for comment.
UPDATE: Sara Wurfel, spokesperson for Snyder, emailed the following statement regarding this story:
I'd say both on reaction and any timing for 2014, that Governor is focused on sound policy, not politics. He's working hard on completing the budget and several key initiatives that will help ensure Michigan's comeback continues and that we invest in Michigan's future and moving forward. No determination on his announcement/timing for any next steps beyond 2014.
Would also share that every stop we do, we come across Michiganders of all backgrounds, communities, small businesses who say that may not have agreed with everything he's done, but they're starting to see it make a difference and to keep going.