Tudor Dixon, a former conservative commentator and actor endorsed by ex-President Donald Trump, will win Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial primary election, NBC News projects.
Dixon will face off in the general against incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In the tumultuous Republican gubernatorial primary, meanwhile, Dixon emerged as a frontrunner only after multiple leading candidates were disqualified from the ballot and another was arrested on misdemeanor charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Dixon could be facing an uphill battle against Whitmer, whose bid for a second term in office is buoyed by a well-funded campaign and strong approval ratings. Despite President Joe Biden’s unpopularity in the state threatening to dampen Democratic enthusiasm across the board, recent polls showed Whitmer above water. Surveys conducted before the primary also showed Whitmer leading Dixon in a hypothetical matchup.
But Dixon is also backed by the powerful DeVos family, which is reportedly connected to super PACs that have spent more than $2 million in support of her candidacy. Betsy DeVos was Trump’s former Secretary of Education, but she resigned after Jan. 6, 2021, later saying that Trump crossed a “line in the sand.”
Dixon took a consistent and growing lead in the GOP primary over the past month, according to polls compiled by RealClearPolitics. Trump endorsed her less than a week before Election Day.
Before Trump announced his endorsement, DeVos penned a handwritten note to the former president, urging him to back him Dixon, The New York Times reported.
Dixon, like other candidates in Michigan’s Republican primary, had previously echoed Trump’s false claims about key election results in 2020 being rigged through widespread fraud. On the weekend before the primary and after receiving Trump’s endorsement, Dixon offered more ambiguous language, saying she had concerns about how the race was prosecuted in her state.