Republican Tudor Dixon Shines in Debate Against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon speaks at her primary election night party after winning the nomination at the Amway Grand Plaza on August 2, 2022 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dixon, a conservative commentator, recently received former President Donald Trump's endorsement.
(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Tudor Dixon, the Trump-endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, made a strong showing in her debate Thursday evening against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) that focused on abortion, the second amendment, education, and the economy.

In the constant theme of this cycle’s midterm debates, the first topic the moderators brought up was abortion.

Dixon proudly declared she is pro-life “with exceptions for life of the mother,” but noted that Michigan’s governor must abide by the decision Michigan voters will ultimately make and not undermine the will of the people.

Joe Biden and Gretchen Whitmer

Joe Biden and Gretchen Whitmer (Adam Schultz / Biden for President)

“As the governor has already stated, a judge has already ruled in this case. Please understand that the governor doesn’t have the choice to go around a judge or a constitutional amendment,” Dixon said. “She will lie to you tonight and tell you that the governor can do something about a constitutional amendment.”

Dixon also slammed Whitmer for supporting abortion “up to the moment of birth” and voting against a ban on partial-birth abortion.

When the moderator asked Whitmer if she supports any limitations on abortion, she dodged the question and highlighted the current legal battle on abortion in the state’s judiciary.

Dixon then accused Whitmer of thinking she was above the state’s constitution and cited the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision to strip the governor of her emergency powers as an example.

Dixon said:

She’s clearly stated she has no limitations. She doesn’t even want parental consent. That’s what the proposal that she’s out there talking about every single day says. She’s lying about my position, and I can see why she’s a little confused about a constitutional amendment because this is a governor who, time and time again, thought she was above the constitution of Michigan. In fact, the people had to go to the Supreme Court to try to rip her powers away even though she held on to them like grim death. This is how she’s going to treat the people of Michigan. It is not how I will.

On education, Dixon called out the governor over her Department of Education admitting that they may hide instances of self-harm from children’s parents.

Dixon said:

Yeah, in 2018, our state police released a Safe Schools report. That Safe Schools report covered everything from hardening our schools to making sure that the mental health of our students was taken care of, making sure we’re seeing those flags when we see a child that’s in danger. The governor hasn’t even come out and talked about the fact that her own The Michigan Department of Ed has now come out and said there are times when we can hide a dangerous situation from parents. If a student wants to harm themselves or someone else. We should hide it from the parents. We’ve never seen something like this before.

Dixon also called out Whitmer for the state’s promotion of sex and gender theory to young children, which, coupled with the pandemic-era school closures, resulted in Michigan children having “incredibly low reading scores.”

Dixon said:

We need to get our kids back to reading and back to the basics. Right now, in Michigan schools, as you’re seeing on the news, parents are really concerned about what their kids are being taught with the sex and gender theory and not teaching them to read, write and do math. We’ve made it very clear. We want parents involved in the child’s education. And we want to go back to the basics, making sure our kids know how to read, write, and do math. From kindergarten to third grade, they’re learning to read, from third grade on, they’re reading to learn. If they’re missing that crucial step, we’re robbing them.

In response, Whitmer emphasized Dixon’s ties to former President Donald Trump’s former Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, and accused them of wanting “to take half a billion dollars out of our public schools.”

While discussing school safety, Dixon claimed that Whitmer “wants to make sure your kids are in a sitting duck zone where there can be no guns and there’s no protection against them.”

“Gretchen Whitmer has made it pretty clear she wants to make sure she takes away any protection you can have,” Dixon said. “She wouldn’t allow protection even inside of the school where we know that’s the best case scenario if we have someone that can shoot down a shooter, shoot down a threat, but she doesn’t want anything like that.”

When the debate switched gears to Whitmer’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the moderators asked Whitmer if there was anything she would have done differently. Whitmer did not provide any specifics but admitted that she “would have made some different decisions.”

Dixon harped on the issue and pressed Whitmer for ignoring the Nursing Home Association and sending coronavirus-positive patients into nursing homes. Dixon also accused Whitmer of hiding alarming facts about her coronavirus response and noted that she paid off her former Health and Human Services director.

Dixon said:

Well, the governor wants you to believe that she did listen to the experts, but we have the letter from the nursing home association that said whatever you do, don’t send COVID positive patients into nursing homes, and yet the governor did. When Andrew Cuomo even backed off of this, Gov. Whitmer doubled down. She even tried to hide the final report on the numbers of how many deaths we had. In fact, she’s trying to hide a lot from this pandemic. She tried to hide, or she did hide effectively, why her Department of Health and Human Services Director left. In fact, she even paid them off with a secrecy agreement.

Dixon also pressed Whitmer for not fulfilling her 2018 campaign promise to fix Michigan’s roads. Dixon noted that Whitmer pledged she would not raise gas taxes but immediately tried to raise the gas tax by 45 cents when she took office.

Dixon said:

You’ll notice that as soon as another election was coming up, she started to put people out on the roads. The governor didn’t fulfill her promise. In fact, when she asked just a few months ago, didn’t you promise to fix the roads? She said, no, I didn’t promise, at least not in the first turn. Now she’s saying it’ll take a second term, and maybe even several more terms, just to do what she promised in the first place, which she knew she couldn’t do. But she wanted to earn your vote then, and now she’s trying to get your vote again.

When the debate moderator noted that some violent crimes are increasing in Michigan, Dixon called out Whitmer for supporting “the spirit of ‘defund the police,’” and touted her endorsement from The Police Officers Association of Michigan.

Dixon pledged to put an additional $1 billion into policing to address the state’s crime issue.

“We’re going to make sure that not only are they supported, but they have the tools they need. They have the technology they need, and they have the mental health help, and they will always know that a Dixon administration has their back,” Dixon said. “We will never defund the police.”

“It must be so embarrassing for the governor that it’s actually on tape that she said she supports the spirit of ‘defund the police,’” Dixon added. “That’s the truth. I’m not short on facts. In fact, when she didn’t get her gas tax increase, she decided to then veto funding for our road patrols.”

Whitmer, on the other hand, focused on gun violence and attacked Dixon for wanting to eliminate gun-free zones. Whitmer also claimed, “there is more work to do” when asked about racial bias within law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Dixon also brought attention to Whitmer’s veto of a bill that would have decreased the state’s income tax.

“In fact, the other question was, ‘would you try to get the income tax down to 3.9?’ The governor was actually offered two different reductions in the personal income tax to get money back in your pockets. But she vetoed both of those,” Dixon said. “It’s not surprising. This governor has vetoed more bills than any governor for the past 70 years.”

Dixon and Whitmer will face off in a second debate on October 25.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter. 


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