Advance Notice: Briefs

Hackel hasn’t endorsed fellow Democrat Whitmer, says they ‘are having conversations’

By: - July 28, 2022 3:11 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel | Ken Coleman

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said on Thursday that he voted early but did not reveal who he voted for in the Tuesday gubernatorial primary election. He also said that has not endorsed Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer but that the two are “having conversations.” 

“I know that I voted for Mark Hackel for county executive,” said Hackel, a conservative Democrat in a red Southeast Michigan county. “That’s the only thing that I will disclose at this time. It is well known to everyone that I do that. The governor and I are having conversations about the future. After the election on Tuesday, I think that we will be ready to make some other announcements.”

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel | Ken Coleman

He made the comment during a news conference in Sterling Heights where he and Whitmer did team up to tout a $32 million road construction project on Mound Road, a major thoroughfare in the state’s third-largest county. It consists of reconstructing the high-traffic road between I-696 and M-59 and adding a fourth lane in each direction from 17 Mile Road to M-59.

Hackel concluded that “timing is important when making these calls” and it gives his endorsement a “little more” weight. 

Whitmer was asked by a reporter about Hackel’s comments and she replied that she also voted early and voted for herself.

Five Republicans are competing to face her on Nov. 8: right-wing media personality Tudor Dixon, far-right activist Ryan Kelley, businessman Kevin Rinke, the Rev. Ralph Rebandt and chiropractor Garrett Soldano

Hackel has long flirted with a gubernatorial bid but has never run. He has served as county executive since 2011. Prior to that, he served as county sheriff from 2001 to 2010. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel | Ken Coleman

During the early months of COVID-19 pandemic, Hackel supported repealing the 1945 law that gave Whitmer the ability to declare a state of emergency and keep the declaration in place without input from the GOP-controlled Legislature. That law was overturned in 2020 by the Michigan Supreme Court, which had a GOP-nominated majority at that time.

Hackel also has a friendly history with some Republicans. He attended a fundraiser during GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder’s first term, making headlines.

In 2016, Hackel crossed party lines and backed GOP former U.S. Rep. Candice Miller for Public Works commissioner. Miller, who won the election, had previously served as Michigan secretary of state and as Macomb County treasurer. 

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.