Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer secured a second term over Republican challenger Tudor Dixon Tuesday, despite a strong push by the GOPer in the final weeks of the campaign.
With 68% of the expected vote in early Wednesday, Whitmer led Dixon by five percentage points, just over 170,000 votes.
Whitmer was leading Dixon by double digits in early October, only for the Republican to begin closing the gap as she stepped up her appearances across the state and focused on voters dissatisfied with the uneven economy and rampant inflation.
“This was the plan, and that’s how it went. And I actually think our momentum is coming at just the perfect time,” Dixon told the Associated Press in an interview last week.
Even as Dixon pressed kitchen table economic issues, Whitmer pounded Dixon over her stance against abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
The Republican candidate found herself struggling to respond while focusing on trying to raise campaign cash.
The Republican Governors Association eventually said it would pour $3.5 million into Dixon’s campaign, but early voting had been going on for nearly two weeks by the time her ad campaign hit the airwaves in mid-October.
Whitmer also accused her challenger of spreading conspiracy theories, including the claim that former President Donald Trump won Michigan in 2020, despite President Biden taking the state by more than 154,000 votes.
In turn, Dixon, who had been supported by Trump, criticized Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, when the governor shut down many businesses and schools.
Just last month, three antigovernment extremists were convicted of supporting terrorism as part of a plot to kidnap Whitmer in 2020 because they were angry over her coronavirus restrictions.
The men were part of a group called the Wolverine Watchmen who planned to snatch the governor in 2020 at her vacation home in northern Michigan.
That year, gun-toting militia members converged on the state Capitol and blocked roads to protest her COVID policies.