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Posted on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 : 3:46 p.m.

Ann Arbor venture capitalist Rick Snyder lands gubernatorial endorsements

By Nathan Bomey

Ann Arbor venture capitalist and Michigan gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder has secured two endorsements that could boost his standing in west Michigan, a region considered critical to winning a Republican primary race in the state.

Snyder received endorsements from Jerry Zandstra, president of Pro-Life Federation of Michigan, and ex-Republican National Committee representative Chuck Yob, co-chairman of the Michigan operation of Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. Zandstra and Yob are both active in the Grand Rapids area political scene.

Zandstra, also a Christian Reformed minister, said at a press conference that Snyder's economic experience and pro-life stance solidified his support.

"I'm here to endorse Rick primarily for one reason and that's the economy," said Zandstra, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

Some conservative activists have questioned Snyder’s commitment to various social issues, but political expert Bill Ballenger said that issue seems to have faded.

“I don’t even think people are talking about that anymore. As far as I know, it looks to me like all of these people are pro-life,” Ballenger said, referring to the group of Republican gubernatorial candidates.

Still, Ballenger, editor of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter, questioned the consequence of today’s announcement. “I don’t think it’s very significant,” he said.

Snyder, founder of economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK and venture capital firm Ardesta, has said he would focus his campaign exclusively on the importance of helping Michigan recover from its "economic disaster."

“Rick is going to be focused on the economy in this election,” Snyder spokesman Jake Suski said. “He is a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-family Republican. To the extent that this (announcement) supports that, that’s fine, but Rick’s focused on the economy in this election.”

Snyder by all accounts faces a steep climb to the Republican primary nomination. His competition includes established political names like Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

The endorsements come as Snyder prepares to speak Friday at the University of Michigan about his experiences in the technology industry. He’s expected to focus his address on his business experiences, not his gubernatorial campaign.

His appearance is part of the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship's "Distinguished Innovators Speaker Series." Snyder received bachelor's, master's and law degrees from U-M by age 23.

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at or (734) 623-2587 or follow him on Twitter.



Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 1:56 p.m.

Chuck, For Snyder to gain the Republican nomination, he will need to gain support from conservative groups in West Michigan. If he doesn't at least appear to be a strong pro-life candidate from the outset, he has basically no chance. This man is exactly what the state of Michigan needs right now. He is a native Michigander, and has proven his ability to be successful in multiple business settings. For the fact alone that his election would create the appearance of Michigan being a more business-friendly state, Ann Arborites should support this man in the race.

Nathan Bomey

Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 12:50 p.m.

Slyde734, Interestingly, former Gov. Milliken has connections to Snyder.


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 12:39 p.m.

Where have you gone Bill Milliken....The last great governor of Michigan.

Chuck Warpehoski

Thu, Sep 17, 2009 : 7:43 p.m.

I don't want my next governor to focus on the "wedge issues" of abortion, homosexuality, or school prayer. I want my next governor to focus on restoring the Michigan economy. Granholm talks a good game, I want a governor who can deliver on economic revitalization.