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Amidst a polling lag, Michigan Republicans look for a boost from Trump

October 2, 2022
<p>Donald Trump and gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon at Trump’s rally held in support of Michigan’s GOP midterm ticket on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Macomb Community College. </p>

Donald Trump and gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon at Trump’s rally held in support of Michigan’s GOP midterm ticket on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Macomb Community College.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

At a rally in Warren on Saturday night, the message was clear – Michigan's Republican candidates are still united behind Donald Trump. 

Hours before the former president made his entrance at Macomb Community College, a lineup of both state and federal Republican politicians and candidates made speeches professing their commitment to his policy platform and vision for the GOP.

Ahead of November's midterm elections, Trump has maintained his status as a critical endorsement for Republican candidates across the country.

Republican Attorney General candidate Matt DePerno said that he spoke with Trump about the importance of uniting voters behind the GOP ticket. 

“We brought Donald Trump here today to rally the people across the state,” DePerno said. “He said, ‘Matt, go out there. Ask everyone in the audience and everyone in the TV viewing audience. It's time to get out the vote in November.’”

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According to recent polling data, Republican candidates are in need of the lift that Trump could provide.

Gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, for example, is trailing her opponent, incumbent Gretchen Whitmer, by between 11 and 16 points.

Dixon faced a crowded GOP primary over the summer with intense pushback from a portion of the Republican Party, particularly in opposition to her relationship with former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her family. Nonetheless, she said at the rally that she’s optimistic. 

“We are still within striking distance, I think it means that our message is resonating,” Dixon said. “And (Whitmer) doesn't really have a message.”

In his speech at the rally, Trump underlined the need for Republicans to rally behind Dixon in November. 

“Six weeks from now, the people of Michigan are going to vote to fire your radical left Democrat governor,” Trump said.

Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo is also in a double-digit deficit, with incumbent Jocelyn Benson maintaining a steady lead of ten points.

Karamo said that Benson’s handling of the 2020 election was illegal and proves her unfit for office. 

“They want to call you names for simply wanting a fair and honest election,” Karamo said. “This is the biggest threat to our freedom. Our elections are the heart of our democracy.”

DePerno’s polling gap with incumbent Dana Nessel is the narrowest of the three top of the ticket candidates, most recently documented at six points, but a notable difference in fundraising success, as documented in August shows Nessel having raised over $3 million to DePerno’s $770,000. 

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The rally also included speeches from high-profile conservatives like Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who said that Michigan’s problems can be attributed to its Democratic leadership. 

“Michigan needs to get to the polls and they need to vote Republican up and down the ballot,” Greene said. “My father's from Michigan. So I might be from the south, but Michigan runs in my blood with the other candidates.”

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Greene said that Tudor Dixon is the one for the job. 

“We need freedom in Michigan. And she's the governor that will bring you freedom.”

Though all the speeches at the event featured popular conservative policy points – the presence of race and gender theory in schools, inflation and gas prices and crime reduction – each speaker relied heavily on the presence of Trump and the “Save America” message he’s adopted recently. 

In keeping with the Trump-centric messaging, the speakers devoted time to addressing proposed “election integrity” measures as a result of the 2020 presidential election. Greene echoed statements made by the candidates that Trump did not, in fact, lose re-election, but that he was ousted from office after a rigged counting of votes. 

“The future of the Republicans is America first,” Greene said. “It protects freedoms for all, reins in the federal government, loyally follows the one true leader of the Republican Party, the one we elected in 2016. The one we reelected in 2020. The one we will make our next President of the United States of America- Donald Trump.”

As for Trump, there was no concrete announcement of plans for 2024. He said that his first priority is ensuring a Republican victory in the midterms, but still teased a possible presidential run.

“I won more votes than any president in the history of our country,” Trump said. “And now we might just have to do it again.”

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