Washington (CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made an endorsement Saturday in the race for the office once held by his father, throwing his weight behind Rick Snyder, the Michigan Republican gubernatorial nominee who bills himself as "one tough nerd."
“Rick Snyder is a successful businessman, manager, and job creator, which makes him uniquely qualified to lead Michigan through these challenging economic times. Rick will promote pro-growth policies that will put people back to work and get Michigan back on the right track,” Romney said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Snyder, a businessman and former Gateway CEO, defeated powerful Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, and Attorney General Mike Cox in what was a three-way battle for the GOP nomination.
In the general election, Snyder will face Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero who won the Democratic nomination over state Rep. Andy Dillon. Two-term Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm is term-limited.
Unemployment is likely to be a central issue in the gubernatorial race. Michigan has the second-highest unemployment level in the country, trailing only Nevada.