Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer will defeat Republican Tudor Dixon in Michigan’s closely-watched gubernatorial election, according to a projection.
The winner was projected by DecisionDeskHQ at 1:13 a.m. EST.
Decision Desk HQ projects Gretchen Whitmer (D) re-elected governor in Michigan.#DecisionMade: 1:13am EST
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 9, 2022
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the re-elected governor addressed a room full of her enthusiastic supporters. “For the next four years, I ask you to believe in Michigan, to work with us and believe in our state. If we do, I know there is nothing we can’t accomplish,” Whitmer said. “Holding this office has been the honor of my life, and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity for the last four years.”
Dixon conceded the race in a phone call with Whitmer Wednesday morning. “Michigan’s future success rests not in elected officials or government, but all of us. It is incumbent upon all of us to help our children read, support law enforcement, and grow our economy,” the Republican said in a press release. “Thank you to our volunteers and supporters for working so hard to forge a better Michigan. We came up short, but we will never stop fighting for our families.”
Whitmer, 51, was heavily favored just a few months prior to the election, but a late Republican surge in polling along with voter distaste for Democrat policies on the economy and crime turned the race into a barn burner down the stretch.
Dixon, a 45-year-old businesswoman, campaigned on reviving Michigan’s economy, fighting for children and parents in education, and reducing the state’s rising crime rate, while Whitmer focused heavily on protecting a right to abortion. After Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, a 1931 Michigan law was set to go into effect banning abortion in the state before the law was suspended by a Michigan judge. Whitmer often pointed to Dixon’s opposition to abortion as a reason she was too radical for Michigan voters.
Another big issue throughout the campaign was the Great Lakes State’s economy. Michigan businesses were hit hard following the onset of the COVID pandemic as the Whitmer administration enacted some of the harshest lockdown measures in the country.
The Republican candidate made a habit of reminding voters of the governor’s policies during the pandemic, and how she would have governed differently. For months after the onset of the pandemic, the Whitmer administration continued to order businesses to limit the number of customers they could serve and required they enact social distancing and mask requirements. Other businesses, like theaters and bowling centers, had to shut their doors completely from mid-March 2020 through that summer.
To help the state recover from COVID lockdowns, Dixon pushed for reducing income taxes and slashing regulations to help boost a floundering economy and lure businesses into a state that has seen thousands of jobs leave in the past few years. Whitmer promised voters she was working hard to “bring the supply chain home” after the state lost nearly 82,o00 jobs during her first term.
The governor also sought to highlight her police spending in the weeks leading up to the election after she was criticized in 2020 for saying she supports “the spirit” of the defund the police movement.
As Michigan struggles with rising crime rates in its cities, Dixon promised to support law enforcement and first responders. In September, Dixon unveiled a $1 billion plan aimed at recruiting and retaining local law enforcement officers. Her proposal would seek to hire over 5,000 local officers, 500 state troopers, 2,000 state and local corrections officers, and 5,000 fire and EMS personnel.
Dixon was not shy on culture war issues such as abortion and sexual progressivism. She consistently reaffirmed that she supports Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion with an exception only for the life of the mother. In June, Dixon also said she would “sign a bill that creates severe criminal penalties for adults who involve children in drag shows.”