LANSING, Michigan (TBEN) — Former President Donald Trump on Friday endorsed Tudor Dixon in the crowded Republican primary for governor in Michigan, just days before voters choose an opponent to run against Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“She’s pro-God, pro-Gun and pro-Freedom, and she won’t be stopped!” Trump said in a statement to announce his support.
Trump’s endorsement came shortly after his former secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, urged him to join her in supporting Dixon — and despite Dixon’s opponents insisting that DeVos left Trump’s cabinet shortly after the January 6, 2021 uprising .
Dixon, a conservative commentator, also has the support of Michigan’s Right to Life, former Governor John Engler, and some of the state’s top legislative leaders. She also has financial backing from a couple of super PACs associated with DeVos, who is from Michigan.
Dixon has said she will fight to keep drag queens out of school, and she is against abortion except to save the mother’s life. Dixon held a fundraiser earlier this year at Trump’s property in Florida’s Mar-a-Lago, where the former president called her “special.”
Dixon’s opponents include businessman Kevin Rinke, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and real estate broker Ryan Kelley, who was charged with felony charges for his actions during the U.S. Capitol uprising.
Trump’s endorsement was sometimes a difference-maker, and he often trumped the strength of his support. But he’s also had some high-profile setbacks with some of his picks.
Trump lost Michigan by about 154,000 votes in 2020, and multiple audits and courts — as well as an investigation by the Republican-led state senate — have confirmed that outcome. But all the GOP governor candidates say there was fraud, and everyone but Rinke has said they believe Trump’s election was stolen.
Rinke and the Democratic Governors Association have both spent large sums of money on TV ads targeting Dixon in the run-up to the primary.
Rinke’s TV ad claims that Dixon is backed by the “leading never-Trumpers of the RINO establishment,” using the derisive acronym for “Republican in name only.”
The Democratic Governors Association’s $2 million ad purchase pushes claims that Dixon’s budget plan would force widespread layoffs of police officers; she has said that is not true.
“Of course they want to get me out of here. They don’t want me running into Gretchen,” Dixon told The The Bharat Express News on Wednesday after the GOP’s latest government debate.
DeVos said in her letter to Trump on Friday that they should work together to elect Dixon, calling her “the only one who can get a foothold with “that woman from Michigan,” a term Trump used for Whitmer rather than her. to be mentioned by name in 2020.
Whoever emerges from the August 2 primaries will have an uphill battle against Whitmer, who has set aside nearly $15 million, more than all five Republicans combined.
Joey Cappelletti is a corps member for the The Bharat Express News/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national, not-for-profit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on classified issues.