State - Lansing Cox picks up major endorsement from Chamber Also gets the nod from last Republican to run for governor

By Kathy Barks Hoffman

AP Political Writer

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Republican Attorney General Mike Cox picked up some major endorsements Tuesday, winning the backing of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, former state GOP Chairwoman Betsy DeVos and Dick DeVos, the last Republican to run for Michigan governor.

The chamber, which represents around 6,800 employers and trade associations, chose Cox after months of consideration, President and CEO Rich Studley said.

Democratic Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and Republicans Cox, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and state Sen. Tom George filled out the chamber's questionnaire and participated in a candidate forum earlier this year.

The chamber's board made its endorsement after interviewing Cox, Bouchard and Hoekstra, Studley said. Republican businessman Rick Snyder of Ann Arbor and Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon chose not to participate in the endorsement process.

"Michigan's next governor must be bold, decisive, knowledgeable about state government and have the ability to hit the ground running from day one," Studley said in a statement. "Mike Cox is the candidate who best meets these four criteria."

Dick DeVos unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm in the 2006 election. The Ada businessman and Amway Corp. heir now is president of The Windquest Group, an investment management firm based in Grand Rapids.

Both he and his wife are major GOP donors active in Republican politics in Michigan and nationally.

"Cox has the right ideas, the right vision and a proven track record of making tough decisions," the couple said in making their endorsement.

The endorsements by one of Michigan's major business organizations and by two of the state's leading GOP activists are likely to help Cox with fundraising and in garnering additional support as he competes in the five-way race for the GOP nomination leading up to the Aug. 3 primary election.

A recent EPIC-MRA poll has shown Hoekstra leading the field by double digits, but several candidates say their own internal polls show the race is closer.

Published: Thu, Jun 10, 2010