Republican Tudor Dixon tore into Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) Saturday for campaigning with former President Barack Obama in the final stretch of Michigan’s gubernatorial race.
Dixon, speaking during an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday, said Whitmer’s move to host Obama, who remains popular among Democrats, is “too little, too late” amid recent polls showing Dixon has closed in on Whitmer in the race.
“Now they’re bringing in Barack Obama. They brought in Kamala Harris. They brought in Joe Biden. Most people are running from Joe Biden; Gretchen Whitmer is bringing him in. It’s just marrying her more to those radical policies,” Dixon said. “They believe that Barack Obama can bring this back to her, and I think it’s too little, too late.”
Dixon, a conservative media personality and former steel industry businesswoman, pointed to a viral debate moment that occurred Tuesday when Whitmer claimed she mandated school closures for only three months amid coronavirus cases surging in 2020.
Whitmer said with a laugh during the debate, “Mrs. Dixon says that I kept students out longer than any other state. That’s just not true. I worked closely with my Republican and Democratic governors, and kids were out for three months”:
.@gretchenwhitmer is lying when she says she got students back in class in three months.
— Michigan GOP (@MIGOP) October 25, 2022
Dixon said this moment has fired up parents across the state who remain livid about their children’s now-documented learning loss and missed school experiences, and she contended the moment has cost Whitmer critical support from her base.
“Now she’s losing her base across the state because her base is suburban women,” Dixon said. “Suburban women are saying, ‘Woah, woah, we missed graduations. We missed proms. We missed sports. Our kids missed all of their milestones, and now you’re telling us it didn’t happen?’ It’s outrageous.”
Whitmer ordered schools to shut down in-person learning in March 2020 and continued that order through June 2020, the end of the school year.
However, Whitmer later mandated high schools shut down in-person learning in the winter of 2020 for a few weeks. And although her mandates expired, Whitmer also allowed major districts, including Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids, to maintain their shutdown of in-person learning through the end of the 2020–2021 school year, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis.
The analysis found that under Whitmer’s leadership, a mere 12 percent of Michigan schools had resumed in-person learning by September 2020, while a substantially higher percentage had resumed in-person learning in neighboring states, including Indiana and Ohio.
“She’s out there saying that she only kept schools closed for three months, which is obviously a blatant lie, and if you look at the folks in Detroit, the schools in Detroit had some of the worst performance,” Dixon said. “So now, she comes out and says, ‘I didn’t actually keep the schools closed.’ Those students are saying, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But parents across the state are mad.”
Breitbart News Saturday host Matthew Boyle noted Whitmer’s debate moment was reminiscent of turning points in the Virginia gubernatorial race when former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) turned on parents of students and the 2016 presidential race when Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “deplorables.”
A public poll has not yet been released to show what kind of impact the debate may have had on the race; however, Dixon closed a significant polling gap in recent weeks and is now down by single digits or dead even with Whitmer in the last several polls taken.