Trump backs Tudor Dixon in Michigan gubernatorial race

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Tudor Dixon, a conservative media personality who is leading the polls in Michigan’s Republican race for governor, won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump on Friday.

“When I met Tudor Dixon she was not well known, but I could tell she had something very special about her – it was a quality few others have,” Trump said in a statement. Friday night, days before the state primary on Tuesday. “She gave a powerful speech about how she would lead Michigan, fight for electoral integrity, fix the economy, and protect Michigan’s future for every child.”

Other Michigan Republicans had tried to block the endorsement, which Trump had telegraphed as early as April when he praised Dixon by name at a rally he held in the state without mentioning the other GOP candidates.

In a letter sent Thursday, nine GOP candidates whom Trump backs in the races for the Michigan Legislature and the US Congress pleaded with the former president not to side with the ‘establishment’ and the powerful. DeVos family of Michigan, who support Dixon.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November. Trump, who has teased a 2024 presidential bid, has repeatedly criticized Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic on the main electoral battleground.

“It’s time for a BIG change and a BIG comeback!” the former president said in Friday’s statement.

Dixon, in a separate statement, called Trump’s endorsement a “great honor.”

“Our vision of a family-friendly Michigan clearly resonates with voters,” Dixon said. “That’s why our broad coalition is growing.”

A former anchor for Real America’s Voice, the far-right network that airs the program fueled by Steve Bannon’s conspiracy theory, Dixon has delivered on the former president’s false claims that a second term was stolen from him in 2020.

“Obviously there were things that were done in such a sneaky way with this money coming in, the mail-in ballots,” Dixon told NBC News in an interview after a debate this month at Great Rapids. “You have Democratic boots on the ground to get the vote – and how did they get the vote? This is something we would have liked to see again. »

Prior to her gubernatorial bid, Dixon was not widely known in Michigan, but has since enjoyed messy support from the mainstream and mustered establishment — including the family of the former state education secretary. Trump, Betsy DeVos – around her campaign. Family members helped fund a pro-Dixon super PAC with a collective contribution of $1 million, according to campaign finance records.

DeVos resigned from Trump’s cabinet after the deadly Jan. 6 riots, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. More recently, she said she was among those who discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from office.

Dixon’s GOP rivals and other Republican critics sought to use her alliance with DeVos against her. Businessman Kevin Rinke recently ran an ad accusing Dixon of being endorsed by “Never Trumpers” — a likely, if misleading, reference to DeVos, whose image appears in the 30-second spot.

“It has come to our attention that Betsy DeVos claims that the DeVos family and their affiliated organizations are not working against Trump-endorsed candidates in Michigan. This is absolutely ridiculous and untrue,” the Trump-backed candidates wrote in Thursday’s letter, obtained by NBC News and first reported by The Detroit News.

Trump seemed taken aback by the effort. He strongly hinted in a radio interview Friday and on his Truth Friday social media platform that a Dixon endorsement could be coming soon.

Two of the early GOP primary frontrunners, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and businessman Perry Johnson, were disqualified from the ballot after handing in allegedly fraudulent signatures. Although Dixon already had the DeVos family’s approval, his fortunes took off once the field of candidates narrowed and his allies started running ads.

Polls in recent weeks have shown Dixon leading the field of five candidates, with Rinke, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and real estate broker Ryan Kelley, who pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from his actions outside the Capitol on 6 January, behind her. Ralph Rebandt is also in the race, a pastor who voted in the lowest numbers.

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