LANSING – Former President Donald Trump sent a belated and possibly decisive jolt to the Republican primary for governor when he endorsed Theodore Dixon on Friday night.
“Theodore Dixon is a conservative warrior who built an amazing career in the steel industry while working with her wonderful father who now watches her proudly from above,” Trump said in a statement released through his Political Action Committee.
“A beautiful family has grown up, ready to save Michigan. They are pro-God, pro-soldiers, pro-liberty, and they will not be stopped! They will stand up to the radical left trying to indoctrinate our children and ready to take on one of the worst rulers in the country.”
Analysts believe that Trump’s endorsement will have a significant impact in the five-candidate race, even when many Republicans have already cast their ballots, with Tuesday’s election less than four days away.
Dixon, a Norton Shores businesswoman and former conservative television commentator, has criticized Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the areas of business and school closures and deaths in nursing homes.
It also upheld the false claim that Trump was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden won in Michigan by 154,000 votes and defeated Trump in the National Electoral College 306 to 232.
Dixon said she was honored by the endorsement. “Gretchen Whitmer is focused on pleasing the union funders who control her in Michigan and the far-left billionaires in New York and California who will fund her candidacy for president,” Dixon said in a press release, referring to media speculation that Whitmer has national political ambitions. “She left the Michiganders behind.”
Dixon, a married mother of four school-aged daughters, has made education a key part of her campaign.
In one debate, Dixon was the only candidate not in favor of deep cuts in higher education, saying Michigan public universities are an important key to the state’s success. She also supports giving parents the option to use public funds to attend private schools, which may have helped Dixon win the support of a wealthy and influential Michigan family.
Dixon’s campaign was invigorated and sent on an upward trajectory with the May announcement that Betsy DeVos, the former Michigan GOP chairwoman who served as Trump’s secretary of education, and her husband Dick DeVos, who was Michigan’s Republican nominee for governor in 2006, and DeVos extended. The clan decided to support her.
The DeVos family and allies have pumped more than $1 million into PACs that have paid for ads supporting Dixon.
Trump made no mention of the DeVos family in his endorsement announcement.
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Recent polls have shown Dixon slightly ahead or close to behind, with many Republican voters remaining undecided.
But DeVos’ endorsement has also complicated Trump’s most valuable endorsement of Dixon. Betsy DeVos resigned from the Trump cabinet the day after the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol, which Trump appeared to encourage and did not move quickly to stop. DeVos later confirmed that she and other cabinet members discussed the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution to remove Trump from office.
Her endorsement by the DeVos family, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and legislative leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirky, R-Clarklake, led to attack from other candidates as being too close to the “establishment,” which is seen as a flaw in the election. primaries controlled by grassroots activists.
However, if she wins on Tuesday, Dixon could have trouble turning into a general election campaign in which she will need to attract the votes of moderate Republicans and independents. She made national headlines this month when she told Detroit journalist Charlie Ledoff that she believed the 14-year-old who was raped by her uncle should carry the resulting pregnancy to term.
Trump declared his endorsement at the head of other national political figures: US Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of TexasAnd the Ben CarsonD., who served as Trump’s secretary of housing and urban development, endorsed both Dixon on Friday.
Other GOP candidates in Michigan are Ottawa County real estate broker Ryan Kelly, retired Reverend Ralph Rebandit of Farmington Hills, Oakland County businessman Kevin Rinke and Kalamazoo spine therapist Garrett Soldano. Also, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig continues to campaign as a book candidate.
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4. Read more about Michigan politics and sign up for our Election Newsletter.
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