SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - After seven years as Governor Rick Snyder's right hand man, Brian Calley is now running for the state's highest office and he got the endorsement from Snyder on Wednesday.
Snyder made the announcement with the lieutenant governor Wednesday at a construction company in Southfield. Snyder says he wants to pass the baton to someone who can take Michigan "to an even higher level."
"This is more of an endorsement to me. This is about my successor and a person who is been a fabulous partner for eight years so this isn't just about someone that is running for political office, this is very personal and important to the future of the state," Snyder told FOX 2.
He says he has looked forward to endorsing Calley ever since he asked him to be his running mate eight years ago.
Calley said he's thankful for the endorsement and promises to take that progress he and his boss have made and forge forward. But the Flint Water Crisis could loom over his candidacy.
"It's important in leadership to see what does a person do in crisis. Do they look backwards, point fingers, argue, cast blame? Or literally go there and work on the ground- shoulder to shoulder and roll up their sleeves and work on the future? And that's what I did," Calley said.
Wayne State University journalism professor Jack Lessenberry says endorsements aren't always effective.
"For a lot of people Governor Snyder is the man who poisoned Flint. Rightly or wrongly and Brian Calley was his understudy," Lessenberry said. "The bad that an administration does tend to stick to the number two guy. The good sort of doesn't."
Lessenberry remembers one notable endorsement that was anything but ringing in Michigan history.
"Most people may not remember this but back in 1982 Governor William Milligan was extremely popular, he endorsed his lieutenant governor James Brickley in the Republican primary for governor. Much like Snyder is endorsed Calley. Brickley only got 30% of the vote," he said.
Calley has steered in his own lane when it came to comes to certain issues including opioid abuse, autism and mental health - issues he's gotten in front of of.
Snyder has been tight fisted with endorsements in his seven years in office - until now.
19 candidates are running to be the next governor including Attorney Ggeneral Bill Schuette, who Lessenberry thinks will give Calley the biggest challenge.