Rick Snyder, former CEO of Gateway Computers, is the lead off speaker for "Celebrating Entrepreneurship," at GVSU's Loosemore Auditorium in Grand Rapids. (Press Photo/Lori Niedenfuer Cool)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder is expected to pick a 33-year-old conservative state representative from mid-Michigan to be his running mate, a person close to the Snyder campaign told The Associated Press Tuesday.
Rep. Brian Calley of Portland will be announced Wednesday as Snyder's choice. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the campaign has not yet announced Calley's name.
The announcement is expected to take place at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Snyder has a late afternoon town hall meeting planned there.
Snyder campaign spokesman Bill Nowling would not confirm or deny that Calley had been chosen. He added, however, that Snyder "is going to make a special announcement in Grand Rapids tomorrow at the town hall."
A request for comment was left at Calley's home and on his cell phone Tuesday night. He won a hard-fought GOP primary for the 33rd District Senate seat over Michael Trebesh earlier this month and will have to suspend his campaign against Democrat James Hoisington to run for lieutenant governor.
Calley has been a state representative since 2007 and led the House Republican campaign effort in 2008. A former banker, he has been behind a so-far-unsuccessful effort to change the Michigan Constitution to prohibit property taxes from rising when a home's value drops.
He also introduced a bill last year to exempt baby-sitting from the state's day care regulations after the Michigan Department of Human Services ordered a Barry County woman to stop watching her friend's three children before they got on their school bus. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the bill into law last November.
Snyder, a businessman from Washtenaw County's Superior Township who has no government experience, had said he would consider choosing a former or current lawmaker as a running mate. Snyder and Calley both hold master's degrees in business administration -- Snyder from the University of Michigan, Calley from Grand Valley State University -- and are likely to share similar ideas on how best to revive Michigan's struggling economy.
"Brian's a capable lawmaker with a good voting record on jobs and the economy. He's young and bright and hardworking and would be a very good choice," Michigan Chamber of Commerce President Rick Studley said before the formal announcement. The chamber's political action committee endorsed Snyder on Tuesday over Democratic Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.
Bernero has not yet named a running mate but is expected to do soon, possibly on Thursday. Republicans and Democrats hold their state party conventions this weekend and the lieutenant governor candidates will be endorsed there.
Calley represents all of Barry County and party of Ionia County and is likely to help Snyder reach out to tea party supporters and other party conservatives.
The married father of three was vice president of Irwin Union Bank -- now First Financial Bank -- before joining the Legislature and earlier worked at what was then Ionia County National Bank.
A native of Dearborn Heights, Calley says on his Facebook profile that he is active at Portland Baptist Church, is a regional Red Cross board member and sits on the board of the Portland Economic Development Corp. He's the ranking Republican on the House Tax Policy Committee and serves on House committees dealing with banking and financial services and with health policy.
Among the other names tossed out as possible Snyder running mates over the past month were two of his former gubernatorial opponents, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. Also mentioned were former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, now of Public Sector Consultants, state Sens. Jason Allen of Traverse City and Patricia Birkholz of Saugatuck and state Rep. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton, along with several possibilities from the private sector.
Schuitmaker said Calley is an excellent choice.
"He's very deliberative," she said. "He understands the needs of the private sector" and uses that knowledge "to create good public policy."
Stay with News 10 and wilx.com for more details on this breaking story as they become available.