Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer addresses her supporters during a rally before mid-term elections in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. October 29, 2022.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters
Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won a second term after defeating Republican challenger Tudor Dixon, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, NBC News projected.
Whitmer led by about 6 percentage points with more than 70% of the vote in, according to NBC.
The election marked the first time that women have been at the top of the ticket for both major parties in Michigan. The incumbent was consistently ahead in the polls, though her lead shrank as Election Day approached.
As the economy became top of mind for voters, Whitmer cast herself as a bipartisan leader and deal-maker. She frequently touted passing a balanced budget every year of her term and her commitment to rebuilding Michigan’s crumbling roads.
Democrats hoped that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June overturning the constitutional right to an abortion and the Jan. 6 Committee hearings would galvanize voters to head to the polls. Dixon opposes abortion rights, even in cases of rape, incest and where the health of the mother is at risk. Whitmer painted Dixon as an extreme MAGA Republican.
Whitmer, who at one point was considered as a running mate for President Joe Biden, became a lightning rod for conservatives during the Covid-19 pandemic. Vitriol against the governor led to an ultimately foiled plan to kidnap her in late 2020; 14 men were arrested in connection with the terror plot.
Dixon was little known going into Election Day. She worked in sales for her family’s steel company before becoming a conservative television pundit. She rose to prominence after several Republican front-runners were disqualified for using fraudulent signatures on petitions to register to get on the ballot. Trump endorsed Dixon four days before the state’s primary.