The state’s Republican primary was one of the most chaotic races this cycle. A pair of leading candidates – former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and self-proclaimed ‘quality guru’ Perry Johnson – have been kicked out of the ballot after election officials uncovered a large amount of fraudulent signatures on their petitions of appointment. Ryan Kelley, another running mate, was later arrested by the FBI for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
Dixon’s main contender for the nomination is likely Kevin Rinke, a first-time contestant and businessman who has poured millions into the contest. But since the signing scandal, Republican power centers in the state have coalesced around Dixon.
She has won endorsements from the state Chamber of Commerce, anti-abortion group Michigan Right to Life and others.
Perhaps most importantly, the DeVos family — a mainstay of Michigan’s conservative movement that includes former Trump-era education secretary Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick DeVos, the GOP gubernatorial candidate in 2006 – supported Dixon.
Even before Trump’s endorsement, Dixon was considered the nominal frontrunner in the primary. But Michigan operators speculated before Trump thought his endorsement could help seal the nomination for her.
Whitmer, the incumbent Democratic governor, has sought to anchor her campaign in defense of abortion rights in the state, with Democrats hoping to draw a contrast to Dixon, who made headlines last week for championing a prohibition of abortion without exception for rape or incest.
Republicans, meanwhile, have sought to tie Whitmer to the state of the economy and attacked her for her pandemic-era lockdown policies, calling her a hypocrite for breaking them.
Ahead of the primary, POLITICO’s election forecast rates the race as Democratic.