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Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has won reelection, Decision Desk HQ projects, defeating Republican media personality Tudor Dixon in one of the most closely watched races in the country.
Whitmer’s win comes after polling showed the incumbent ahead of Dixon in the final stretch of campaigning before Election Day. Whitmer also raised more money than Dixon, who did not get the financial backing that some other Republicans running in battleground states did.
Whitmer made abortion access a key pillar of her campaign, an issue that gained more national attention after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights in June. Whitmer publicized related executive actions, roundtables with voters on the issue and a legal challenge to a dormant 1931 state law that effectively would have banned the procedure in the state. A citizen-led ballot measure to expand abortion rights in the state constitution was also up for a vote Tuesday.
“This is a human rights issue that is very much front and center and very much at risk,” she told The 19th in September. “We’re going to continue the work that we’ve done on public education and public safety and infrastructure, and ensuring that women make their own decisions about their bodies and their futures.”
Whitmer is a former state lawmaker who was elected governor in 2018 as part of a wave of women leaders who entered higher office during Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump, who is weighing a 2024 bid for president, endorsed Dixon shortly before she emerged victorious from a crowded and chaotic party primary.
In an election year that was expected to favor Republicans, Whitmer was steadfast in her support of President Joe Biden. She appeared alongside the president in Detroit in late September. She also campaigned on more local issues like road infrastructure, continuously committing to “fixing the damn roads.”
Dixon was one of several Republicans seeking statewide office in Michigan who expressed skepticism about the results of the 2020 election despite no proof of widespread fraud.
At an October debate, Dixon committed to accepting the abortion ballot measure if it passes. Whitmer took the moment to highlight democracy. It’s a similar pitch made by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson — two Democrats who along with Whitmer have gained national recognition for women’s representation at the top of state government.
“I think it’s really ironic when Mrs. Dixon stands here and says that she will accept the vote, the will of the people,” Whitmer said on Oct. 13. “This is a candidate who still denies the outcome of the 2020 election. This is a candidate who will not pledge to accept the outcome of the November 8th election.”