GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With Election Day on Tuesday, the top candidates for governor are making their final push to get out the vote and sway any remaining undecided voters to choose them.
On Sunday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Grand Rapids at Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus for one of her final campaign rallies before the election. The governor started the day over on the east side of the state, holding a get out the vote rally in Pontiac. As the sun set, she joined top Democrats around the state in Grand Rapids. That included both U.S. senators from Michigan, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. Peters predicted the Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, 3rd Congressional District candidate Hillary Scholten and several state House and Senate candidates gave speeches as well.
When it was time for Gov. Whitmer to take the stage, she said Kent County is going to bring home the election for her. She declared that Michigan has made real strides as a state since she’s been governor, citing investments in public education, “closing the gap and putting more money into equity.”
The governor also said she’s fulfilling a campaign pledge from 2018 to fix aging roads.
“I know y’all have your eyes and you see when you travel, we are fixing the damn roads, right?” Whitmer said. “You love orange barrels. Me too, me too.”
Whitmer also talked about her work protecting abortion rights.
“The reason Michigan is a pro-choice state at this moment is because of my lawsuit,” Whitmer said. “We’re going to win this fight.”
Whitmer said over the next 48 hours, her supporters need to pull out “all of the stops” to make people they know are registered and have a plan to vote.
“If they have, tell them good job, and then have them join you in calling other people to make sure they have,” Whitmer said.
Asked for her final pitch to voters before Election Day, Whitmer presented a choice to voters:
“Are we going to keep moving Michigan forward or are we going to go backwards?” she told News 8. “Backwards on women’s rights, backwards on voting rights, backwards on education.”
She also touted what she called economic successes.
“Investment in infrastructure and economic development, which we’ve landed an incredible number of jobs,” she said. “We’re building out industry for generations to come. My opponent wants to take us backwards on all those fronts. I don’t think that’s the Michigan that we want or deserve. We need to continue to stay focused, solve problems and move the state forward.”
During Whitmer’s speech, she said “it’s been a long, tough few years.”
“As hard as it’s been, with all the stuff we’ve had to navigate, from a polar vortex to a global pandemic to 500-year flooding events to 33 recall attempts … to demonstrations for racial justice, to a divisive national election, to threats on my life, I can tell you I am still glad to be the governor of the great state of Michigan,” Whitmer said.
Republican challenger Tudor Dixon was on the east side of the state Sunday, continuing her bus tour and making stops in Troy and Sterling Heights. In Sterling Heights, Republican lieutenant governor nominee Shane Hernandez and attorney general nominee Matt DePerno took the stage, as well as former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Dixon talked about supporting law enforcement, promising, if elected, to put a billion dollars into policing to make sure departments can recruit and train officers.
“It is time for us to make sure that we honor and respect the men and women that go out and risk their lives for us every single day,” Dixon said.
Another big topic was education. It has been at the forefront of her campaign, with a “back to basics” agenda, focusing on reading, writing and math.
“It is time to make sure that our kids can read, write and do math,” Dixon said. “If you look at our latest test scores, that’s not what they’re showing. We are in the bottom 10 in the nation for education.”
“This race is about our students,” she continued. “It’s about bringing education back and it’s time to go back to the basics in Michigan.”
Dixon promised to make sure “parents are involved in their child’s education.”
“We will pass the Parent’s Rights to Know Act, so that you don’t have to beg or pay for what’s happening in your child’s classroom,” Dixon said. “You will click on the website, find their school classroom, find out what books are in the library, what the classroom syllabus is and what trainings the teacher has been through.”
Polling has shown that the race has tightened in recent weeks. As of Sunday, the Real Clear Politics polling average put Whitmer ahead of Dixon about four percentage points — a narrow lead.