As recently as Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) sounded very much like he was moving towards
the 2016 presidential race. Just one day later, however, Politico reported
that the Republican governor had decided to bow out.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will not run for president in 2016, according to two sources familiar with his planning. Snyder, a Republican who was first elected in 2010, has been traveling across the country in recent weeks but has decided against a White House bid. One source close Snyder said he'd expressed concern about the time commitment needed for a national campaign.
So, that settles that? Oddly enough, no. Late last night, the MLive Media Group that covers Michigan news confirmed
with the governor's spokesperson that Snyder "has not made any decisions" about the presidential race, pushing back against the Politico
report, which cited unnamed sources.
The governor's press secretary specifically said that when it comes to Snyder's possible national plans, nothing has changed. "On 2016, he's watching the presidential race closely and hoping a common sense problem-solver emerges," press secretary Sara Wurfel said. "He has not made any decisions about entering the field at this time."
What's left is a confusing picture. Just two weeks ago, Snyder traveled to Las Vegas to appear at a Sheldon Adelson event attended by several White House hopefuls. Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who was on hand for the gathering, told reporters
afterwards that he spoke with Snyder and came away with the "clear impression" that the Michigan governor "is running" for president.
This week, he went further, telling
the Wall Street Journal
he sees an opening in the GOP field. Snyder said Americans "need a problem-solver in Washington," adding that when he looks at the current Republican candidates, "I haven't seen one that I would define as a problem-solver."
If the conflicting reports leave you confused about what the governor actually intends to do, you're not alone.
One important piece of context, however, is worth keeping in mind. There was a statewide election in Michigan this week, which as the AP reported
, didn't go as Snyder had hoped.
Michigan voters on Tuesday resoundingly defeated tax increases that would have pumped $1.2 billion more a year into roads, a setback for Gov. Rick Snyder and others who warn that the state's infrastructure is falling into disrepair because of inadequate funding. [...] A 1-cent sales tax hike was the centerpiece of the ballot measure, which also would have raised more money for education, local governments, and public transit and fully restored a tax break for lower-income workers.
The results were brutal -- despite the governor's backing, 80 percent of Michigan voters rejected the measure, known as Prop 1. It was the worst defeat
for a Michigan ballot measure in modern times.
For Snyder, it was an obvious setback for his governing agenda, but from a national perspective, it's awfully difficult to parlay failure into a national campaign.
It's entirely possible that the GOP governor will wait a few months, allow the Prop 1 debacle to fade from memories, and then enter the 2016 race. But at least for now, Snyder's future plans remain up in the air.