Whitmer pledges to continue bipartisan effort even after Dems win Legislature, Dixon concedes

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the Michigan Democratic Party's Election Day watch party in Detroit on Nov. 8, 2022. (Andrew Roth|Michigan Advance)

By Ken Coleman, Michigan Advance

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pledged to continue to lead in a bipartisan fashion during a 15-minute address to reporters, family members, state elected officials, and campaign staff on Wednesday after being elected to a second term.

“This victory reminds us all that our governor’s office does not belong to any person or political party. It belongs to all of us, the people of Michigan,” said Whitmer at the Motor City Casino in Detroit.

That pledge came even after Democrats stunned many political observers and flipped both the state House and Senate on Tuesday, giving the party a trifecta for the first time in roughly 40 years. Democrats also retained all top statewide offices, with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel notching wins against Republicans Kristina Karamo and Matt DePerno, respectively.

With 87% of precincts reporting, Whitmer has secured 53% of the vote defeating GOP challenger Tudor Dixon. The Associated Press called the race at 1 a.m.

Meanwhile, Dixon, a former President Donald Trump-endorsed candidate and right-wing commentator, conceded Wednesday morning after blasting Fox News for calling the race Tuesday night. The race was the first to feature female gubernatorial nominees in Michigan history.

“I called Governor Whitmer this morning to concede and wish her well,” said Dixon in a statement. “Michigan’s future success rests not in elected officials or government, but all of us. It is incumbent upon all of us to help our children read, support law enforcement, and grow our economy.

“Thank you to our volunteers and supporters for working so hard to forge a better Michigan. We came up short, but we will never stop fighting for our families,” Dixon said.

Whitmer has had a GOP-led state House and state Senate for her entire first term. Prior to running for governor, she spent 14 years in the House and Senate and never served in a chamber under Democratic control.

On Wednesday, she was joined by House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.), state Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) as well as Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) and Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing).

“Over the next four years, we will continue to grow our economy,” said Whitmer. 

She also said that she will continue with her plans to repeal the retirement tax, improve education, provide job growth, and “fight like hell to protect fundamental rights,” a reference to Proposals 2 and 3, which enshrined voting and reproductive measures in the state Constitution. Michigan voters on Tuesday have approved both measures.  

Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Susan Demas for questions: [email protected]. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook and Twitter.

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