June 10 2010 12:00 AM

Snubbed by the state Chamber, but not Dan Kildee

Virg Bernero has touted that he’s a candidate who can court the support of both the labor and business communities, but the Michigan Chamber of Commerce chose to endorse Attorney General Mike Cox over Virg this week.

The Lansing Regional Chamber has endorsed Bernero in his past two (successful) bids for Lansing mayor, at the same time picking up key labor endorsements. In the governor’s race, he’s certainly shown he can get labor endorsements — he’s already got the AFL-CIO, and in the past two weeks he’s picked up the Michigan Education Association and the AFSCME.

Now, the Chamber is not known for endorsing Democrats (it went for Dick DeVos in 2006), but it would have been interesting to see Bernero transcend the Republobusiness-Demounion rift. It would be even more interesting to see how the “folks on Main Street” would react to an endorsement by an organization that would probably like to see labor unions kaput.

Still, the Detroit Regional Chamber has yet to make an endorsement, and the Lansing Regional Chamber PAC has been a faithful money source for Bernero: It gave his 2009 mayoral election campaign $10,000 last August.

But yet more endorsements abounded for Bernero this week. On Wednesday, the campaign announced a whole Flint-made GMC Silverado-full of Genesee County endorsements. Among endorsees are U.S. Congressman Dale Kildee and his nephew, who was briefly Virg’s opponent in the governor’s race, Dan Kildee; plus Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. The rest of the endorsements are mostly snoozers, like the mayor of Burton, Charles Smiley, and Genesee County Commissioners Jamie Curtis, Linda Hoff and Ted Henry.

Also, the Mecosta County Democrats endorsed Virg. (Where’s Mecosta County? About three counties due west of the southern tip of Saginaw Bay.)

But maybe even more welcome news to the Bernero campaign is the departure from the Andy Dillon campaign of Valerie Keefe, their field operations director. According to the blog Michigan Liberal, Keefe left the Dillon campaign to work for the Senate Democratic caucus, and Dillon spokesman TJ Bucholz said that rumors of a shakeup are “grossly exaggerated.”

After the gubernatorial debate at the Mackinac Policy Conference last Thursday, Bernero took a tour of the Upper Peninsula — or what he called on Facebook “God’s country.” The mayor visited Houghton, Escanaba and Menominee, among other spots.

If you’re in the area of Union Pier in southwest Michigan near the Indiana border on Saturday evening, you can catch Bernero speaking to the group Harbor County Progress. Bernero will also be marching in the Michigan Pride parade on Saturday, which begins at noon in downtown Lansing. After the parade, Bernero will give the keynote speech.