Tudor Dixon emerged victorious Tuesday in one of the most tumultuous GOP primaries this election cycle, winning the Republican nomination for governor in Michigan.
Dixon, a conservative commentator and business owner, will face Democrat Gretchen Whitmer this fall in one of the year’s most competitive gubernatorial races.
Neither Dixon, 45, nor her four GOP rivals have ever held legislative or local office, making the contest a toss-up all the way. Donald Trump’s last-minute endorsement helped her cross the finish line.
“Michigan’s Republican establishment has lined up behind Tudor Dixon because they believe she will do the least harm to the Republican ticket in November,” GOP consultant Dennis Lennox told HuffPost. “I don’t think anyone thinks he can win — Michiganders haven’t denied an incumbent governor a second term since 1962 — but he’s going to run a disciplined campaign that will keep lawmakers competitive under a brand new post-redistricting map.” .
Dixon campaigned as a culture warrior, promising to enact laws that would prevent what she believes in.”indoctrination” in schools. After working for her family’s steel company, Dixon founded a subscription news service aimed at college students with content promoting American exceptionalism.
She is also a staunch opponent of abortion, supporting exceptions only for the life of the mother. Since the fall of Roe v. Wade, Whitmer tried to block Michigan’s abortion-enabling law that would have outlawed the procedure entirely, making the governor’s role a critical figure in preserving abortion rights.
The Michigan GOP primary was full of unexpected twists.
Five candidates — including two front-runners — were disqualified from the ballot after the Michigan Office of Elections determined they did not have enough real signatures in their applications. The situation arose from the submission of almost 70,000 fake signatures for a number of candidates by paid canvasses.
Of the remaining candidates on the Democratic Party ballot, real estate broker Ryan Kelley rose briefly after he was arrested by the FBI for allegedly directing rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Kelley said he did not enter the building himself. but has argued its connection with the rebellionsaying it boosted his name recognition in the race.
Dixon appeared to soften her position on Trump’s election ahead of primary day, skipping a Question on whether she believes the 2020 election was stolen in an interview with Fox News on Sunday. During a GOP debate in May, he falsely said Trump won Michigan.
“We have to make sure our elections are safe and what happened in 2020 doesn’t happen again,” he said Sunday, criticizing Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
After weeks of dead heat, Dixon beat Kelley, businessman Kevin Rinke and chiropractor Garrett Soldano thanks to Trump and support from the deep and politically influential DeVos family of Michiganwhich includes former Michigan GOP chairwoman Betsy DeVos, who served as Trump’s education secretary.
In a presidential state, Republicans may find an opening in November because of President Joe Biden immersion approval assessment and concerns about rising inflation.
Whitmer’s profile has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently as Michigan — where statewide Democratic officials run alongside a GOP legislature — navigates the aftermath of Roe v. Wade. He ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for a second term.