LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — After solidifying the first female GOP candidate for governor, the Republican party says it is turning its focus to garnering the votes to win in November.
Wednesday afternoon, members of the party met at Arcadia Brewing in Lansing to energize the party under streamlined goals. The event featured Kristina Karamo, who is running for Secretary of State, Matt DePerno, who hopes to become the next Attorney General, and gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon.
“This is the year of the woman. We made history last night and I’m not sure everyone knows what we did but we nominated the first female GOP candidate for governor,” Dixon started as the crowd began to cheer. “And the funny thing is we know what a woman is.”
Dixon stood at the podium for a few minutes talking about the need to change things in the state of Michigan. She once again spoke about COVID-19 lockdowns and their impact on Michiganders.
“I’m so proud of all that you have done in the past year because I know it is going to lead to Michigan being the number one state in the nation for people to come here, live here, work here and play hard because that is what we do in the state of Michigan,” Dixon said.
DePerno also took to the podium Tuesday afternoon saying he’s excited for the November election.
“It’s time we have an attorney general who enforces the law. It’s time we get rid of an attorney general who is drunk on power,” said DePerno.
Secretary of State candidate Karamo echoed a similar need for change and said she believes the three of them are poised to win over voters.
“I’m feeling very confident going into November because people are suffering between inflation and gas prices and groceries. Those are issues that may seem like we’re just repeating but they’re everyday issues that matter to people’s quality of life,” said Karamo. “People are paying way too much in our branch offices, the quality of service is poor and people of Michigan are extremely excited to see change because it’s about solving people’s problems.”
Former Michigan Gov. John Engler was among the GOP members supporting the candidates on Wednesday. He said he believes Dixon is the best choice who has a lot of fresh ideas that will connect with voters.
“Tudor is somebody that I think is appealing to people and I think there is a lot of frustration,” said Engler. “Small businesses paid a heavy, heavy price during the COVID lockdowns. There’s documentation on how much ground our kids lost when schools were closed versus the states that kept schools open. So we’re getting more and more evidence that there were better ways to do things.”
State Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said he believes Michigan voters are tired of what he called an “authoritarian” rule by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and will vote her out this fall. He agreed with other GOP members that smaller government, growing the economy and education are the top of mind.
“With the Republican ticket we have, let’s bring some common sense back. We can limit government, invest in infrastructure, keep our schools open, making sure our students are educated,” said Nesbitt. “Authoritarian, one person rule that the governor has done has been the wrong way here in Michigan and I do think as you look at it: empowering parents, empowering families to make the decisions that are right for their children is a really sharp message.”
Former gubernatorial candidates Michael Markey, Ralph Rebandt and Kevin Rinke were also in the room supporting Dixon in her race for governor. A representative from Dixon’s team said former gubernatorial candidate Garrett Soldano could not make it but sent a message of support.
Meanwhile, Allendale’s Ryan Kelley, who came in fourth place during Tuesday’s election, still has not conceded. Kelley released a statement questioning the validity of the results, saying he believes Dixon’s win was “pre-determined.”
“As time goes on, I believe you’ll see Ryan Kelley come around and you know most of us are there. And as (voters and GOP members) see on the campaign trail the differences between Gretchen Whitmer and Tudor Dixon, really Gretchen Whitmer is what’s going to unite us all,” said state Rep. Matt Hall, R-Marshall.
As the general election is a little more than three months away, the Michigan GOP says now the real work will begin as it hopes to secure a November victory.