DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday threw his support behind Mitt Romney's bid for the Republican presidential nomination, calling the former Massachusetts governor "the man for the job."
"Given his accomplishments, background, character, experience, ideas and intellect, Mitt Romney has what it takes to build a foundation for America's success in this global economy," Snyder wrote in an op-ed column published Thursday by The Detroit News.
Romney is fighting rival Rick Santorum to win the Feb. 28 Republican primary in Michigan. Losing the contest would be a significant embarrassment for Romney, whose father, George, served as Michigan's governor before losing his presidential bid in 1968.
Snyder - who, like Romney, is a former venture capitalist - was elected in 2010 after campaigning as an outsider with business experience.
In his op-ed, Snyder praised Romney's performance as Massachusetts governor as well as his plans to cut federal government spending.
Snyder's backing caps Romney's significant establishment support in the state, where dozens of local officials have already signed on to back him. Romney spent his childhood in Michigan and won the GOP primary in 2008, and a decision from Snyder to back a rival or to stay out of the presidential contest would have been a blow.
A Republican official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Snyder will speak in support of Romney at an event Thursday in Farmington Hills, Mich.
Romney plans to address a Livonia Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, and Snyder is expected to appear with him. The Republican official was not authorized to speak publicly about the announcement and requested anonymity.
Campaigning in the state Wednesday, Romney wooed tea party voters with arguments against the federal bailout of the auto industry. He plans to campaign in Ohio as well as Michigan on Thursday.
Romney is fighting rival Rick Santorum to win the Feb. 28 Republican primary in Michigan. Losing the contest would be a significant embarrassment for Romney, whose father, George, served