GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Tudor Dixon is projected to win the Republican primary in the race for Michigan governor, according to the Associated Press and NBC News, setting up a Nov. 8 general election race against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
It marks the first time in the state’s history when two women from two major parties will run against each other for governor.
“Oh, wow,” Dixon told supporters at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids Tuesday night after the primary was called in her favor. “God is good.”
“Thank you, Michigan,” she continued. “Thank you for believing in me and yourselves and thank you for standing for what’s right and what matters, for responding to our campaign of ideas and optimism, of a vision to get our beloved state back on track.”
She criticized incumbent Democrat Whitmer for closing schools amid the pandemic, argued Whitmer “ignored” the lead water contamination in Benton Harbor and tied Whitmer to President Joe Biden on energy policy, a popular Republican talking point. She also blamed Biden and Whitmer for high inflation.
But, Dixon qualified, “the next four years, they’re not about Gretchen Whitmer and they’re not about Tudor Dixon. They’re about all of you. They’re about how together, we can rebuild our state.”
“Michigan is the birthplace of American ingenuity. After all, we put the world on wheels. We are the workers, the dreamers, the doers,” she said. “But things have started to change and it’s not for the good. I’ve watched as our state, our people have lost their jobs, their life savings and their promised futures. I’ve talked to countless people who feel less safe in their communities and whose kids were locked out of their classrooms. It’s unacceptable, and frankly, Michigan, we deserve better.”
“A congratulations to Tudor Dixon who won a hard-fought primary race to take on Gretchen Whitmer this fall. It’s time to unite behind Tudor Dixon because Michiganders simply can’t afford four more years of her failures to fix the roads, provide real inflation relief to families, and prevent our children from falling behind on their education. Tudor Dixon is the real leader that Michigan needs and parents can count on her to usher in a new era of prosperity and opportunity for all.”Michigan Republican Party Chair Ambassador Ron Weiser
Dixon, a former business owner and broadcaster from West Michigan, got a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump and she was leading in polls ahead of Election Day.
She thanked her husband, children, supporters and those who voted for her. She also thanked her competitors: real estate broker Ryan Kelley, pastor Ralph Rebandt, businessman Kevin Rinke and chiropractor Garrett Soldano.
On Facebook Wednesday morning, Kelley, who faces misdemeanor federal charges in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, refused to concede.
“NOT CONCEDING!” he wrote. “Let’s see the GOP and the predetermined winner call for a publicly supervised hand recount to uphold election integrity.”
Kelley could call for a recall himself, but did not immediately appear to have done so. Additionally, he would have to pay for the recount unless he is declared the winner. He garnered about 15% of the vote compared to Dixon’s about 41%. She had about 270,000 more votes than him.
In a tweet, Michigan Republican Party spokesman Gus Portela called Kelley’s statement “absolutely irresponsible.”
“There’s a lot at stake this fall and @MIGOP will continue to unite all Republicans behind @TudorDixon, our next Governor,” Portela wrote. “Michigan deserves better than @gretchenwhitmer’s failures. #FireWhitmer #VoteTudor”
Rinke, who was closest behind Dixon in the polls, initially told News 8 he would not concede the election until all the votes were counted, saying, “I play all 60 minutes.” However, later on Twitter, he congratulated Dixon on her win.
“We need to look forward as a party. We need to stop the infighting. For the Republicans to take back the course I believe America is on, we need to do a better job of coming up with candidates versus shiny pennies,” he told reporters.
Before the race was called, Soldano told News 8 he would support whoever won the nomination.
“Our Republican party is fractured right now: We have the old guard, the establishment, and we have ‘we the people,’” Soldano said. “We have to unite. We need all hands on deck to go after the ultimate Goliath, and that’s Gov. Whitmer and her war chest.”
Speaking to his supporters after NBC News and the Michigan GOP called the race, Soldano reiterated that message.
“We may have lost this battle tonight but there is a war that needs to be fought here in the future. And you have to continue to stay engaged. Stay activated. Stay motivated. Stay inspired. And that’s how we take back our country,” he said. “We have to support (Dixon). We have to get behind her. And hopefully she can do what she needs to do to beat Gov. Whitmer.”
“Fire Whitmer!” a supporter shouted.