MICH. – Candidates in Michigan’s upcoming gubernatorial and senatorial elections are gearing up for a long campaign, and several have already netted high-profile endorsements.

Two former governors of Michigan, Republican John Engler and Democrat James Blanchard, have separately endorsed candidates in one of the two elections so far: Engler endorsed former chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court Bob Young Jr. for US Senate, and Blanchard endorsed former Michigan Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer for governor.

“Gretchen Whitmer will bring a new energy and new spirit to the job of Michigan’s chief executive,” Blanchard wrote in an open letter to potential voters. “She understands our democratic institutions have been taken for granted for too long. She respects our American system of government and our way of life, no matter what the current occupant of the White House may say or do. The governors of our 50 states are now called upon to protect, defend and promote our system that ‘We the People’ established two and a half centuries ago. Gretchen will stand strong.”

Engler did not respond to a request for comment.

Other former governors of Michigan are planning their entrance to the race.

A source close to Jennifer Granholm, the first woman to be elected as the governor of Michigan, says that she will announce her support of a candidate “when the time is right.”

Incumbent governor Rick Snyder, who refrained from making any endorsements during the 2016 presidential election, may offer his support to a candidate at some point.

“The Governor isn’t planning to endorse or campaign for anyone at this time. He is busy working hard being governor and making Michigan the best state in the nation,” said Anna Heaton, a spokesman for Snyder. “This is not to mean he won’t get involved at some point, but has no plans to anytime soon.”

The office of Michigan’s longest serving governor, William Milliken, did not respond to a request for comment. Milliken, a Republican, endorsed incumbent governor Rick Snyder during his reelection campaign in 2014, but endorsed Clinton over Trump in the 2016 race for the White House.

While Kid Rock has not officially declared his candidacy for US Senate, he has already earned the endorsement of former New York governor and 2016 presidential candidate George Pataki.

President Trump tweeted his support of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s bid for the governorship, saying that he would “be a fantastic Governor for the great State of Michigan.”

Michigan’s primary election will be held on Aug. 7, 2018, followed by the general election on Nov. 6, 2018.

Andrew Roth is a reporter and photographer covering politics and policy in Michigan, as well technology, culture and their convergence. Andrew is a journalism student at Michigan State University and first...