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Dixon, GOP shift focus to November general election

Dixon campaign, via Facebook.
Tudor Dixon, speaking with supporters following her victory in the GOP gubernatorial primary on Aug. 3, 2022.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will face political newcomer Tudor Dixon in the three-month sprint to the November election. Dixon won the Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday night.

Whitmer was unopposed in her bid for re-nomination as the Democratic candidate. Dixon, a media personality and executive in her family’s steel business, easily bested a field of four other candidates.

At her victory party, Dixon stepped onstage with her husband and four daughters, thanked her family, her supporters and her opponents. And then she turned her attention to the incumbent governor. Dixon took aim at Whitmer’s progressive politics, support for abortion rights, and COVID-19 policies.

“The battle lines in this race couldn’t be any clearer," Dixon said. "This is going to be an epic battle between a conservative businesswoman and mother and a far-left birthing parent and career politician.”

Dixon has endorsed some conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, and questioned the results, despite Republican-led audits confirming them. Dixon also made clear that she’s going to run as if President Joe Biden and his low approval ratings are also on the ticket.

“Whitmer has cheered the Biden policy while he’s pushed us into a recession. Hear that word? That’s yeah, recession," she told the crowd during her victory speech Tuesday evening. "She’s been ridin’ with Biden while he’s been riding our economy into the ground.”

Dixon said she would loosen restrictions on oil and gas drilling as part of her plans for Michigan’s economy. Whitmer’s campaign communications director, Maeve Coyle, agreed with Dixon on one point – the two are very different.

“We now have Tudor Dixon as the nominee," said Coyle. "She’s made clear that she’s going to drive Michigan backwards. Her agenda includes plans to ban abortions without exceptions for rape or incest, or even health of the mother, gut funding for public education, reverse progress rebuilding our infrastructure.”

Over the next few weeks, Tudor Dixon has a big job ahead of her.

“Tudor Dixon has about 35 days," said Republican political pollster Richard Czuba.

“And by that, I mean she has just over a month to unify the Republican Party, to get through a convention and pick a lieutenant governor candidate, to raise a lot of money," he said. "More importantly, show that the race can be, I’d say a mid-single digit competitive race.”

That’s key, Czuba said, because there’s a lot of competitive races this election cycle. Control of the Legislature is at stake, for example. And people who write campaign checks will be looking to steer their donations toward their best chances to win. That is, just like general election voters, they’ll be looking to see if a novice politician who’s still largely unknown, is a good bet.