LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – Former President Donald Trump ended nearly a year of speculation this evening and endorsed Tudor Dixon for Michigan governor, giving the former conservative commentator a potentially insurmountable lift going into Tuesday’s primary election.
The former President said in his statement, issued at 8:14 p.m., that when he met Dixon he could tell she had something “very special qualities,” including the ability to give a powerful speech and her ability to lead. He said after she attended his April rally in Washington Township “her campaign took off like a rocket ship.”
“The great people of Michigan got it – just like I did,” Trump said.
He added that she is a “conservative warrior” who built an “impressive career” in the steel industry while working with her “fabulous father, who is now watching her proudly from above.”
“She raised a beautiful family, and is ready to save Michigan. She’s pro-God, pro-Gun, and pro-Freedom, and she won’t be stopped!” he wrote. “She will stand up to the Radical Left as they try to indoctrinate our children and is ready to take on one of the worst Governors in the nation, Gretchen Whitmer, who is trying to destroy Michigan and our Country. Tudor Dixon will make a great Governor and has my Complete and Total Endorsement. She will not let you down!”
In response to Friday’s endorsement, pollster Steve Mitchell said, “Game. Set. Match.”
Without Trump’s endorsement, Dixon’s numbers were 28% to 20% over Kevin Rinke. With the endorsement, she was up 36% to 13% over Rinke.
Likewise, Glengariff Group pollster Richard Czuba said last week, “whatever Donald Trump does, should he do it, it’s going to decide who the nomination goes to.”
A poll released Friday by the Trafalgar Group from Michigan’s News Source also showed Dixon up 28.4% to Garrett Soldano at 19.2%. Rinke was at 16.7% in that poll.
“This clinches the nomination for Tudor Dixon,” Mitchell said. “Undecided voters and every other voter contemplating casting ballots for other candidates will switch. The polling, both mine and that released by the Trafalgar Group showed her in a good position before this poll. Now, the Trump voters will unite behind her and assure that she will become the nominee.”
The news is a big win for traditional conservative Republicans who desperately want to stunt talk about a rift between the Trump wing of the party and traditional funders such as the DeVos family and former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The drive to stop Trump from endorsing comes from candidates who don’t want the former President to make an endorsement that will essentially end the race, but also from grassroots supporters who are trying to separate from Betsy DeVos, who they view as “establishment,” more big business interests who capitulate on conservative issues.
Rosanne Ponkowski of the Michigan Trump Republicans said they were “not going to be happy” if Trump endorsed in the Republican field, which included at least two other candidates who have strong conservative grassroots support. Ryan D. Kelley, in particular, is running on an America First agenda.
“We have asked Trump to stay out of it. The race is too close. The polls favor whoever paid for them. All of the candidates are good. Let’s have the voters decide,” Ponkowski said.
Ponkowski started a petition drive to urge Trump not to endorse. By 8:38 p.m., 658 people had signed the petition, including 8th Congressional District candidate Matthew Seely.
Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, who has the ear of the President, has tried to lay out how the DeVos family is not on the same page as Trump. And despite DeVos writing a letter to Trump in longhand (see related story) about unity, she is working against his interests.
On the congressional races, Trump has endorsed six candidates, including four incumbents, John James (MI-10) and John Gibbs (MI-3). The DeVos family has given to all of those candidates with the exception of Gibbs. They are maxing out for U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R), who voted for Trump’s impeachment.
Of the 11 Trump-endorsed legislative candidates, the DeVos forces have supported one: Mike Hoadley. They are on opposite sides in seven: Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Niles)/Lindsey (SD-17), Detmer/Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) (SD-22), Kronemeyer/Smit (HD-43), Eubanks/DeBoyer (HD-63), Begole/Rathbun (HD-71), Keeler/Rigas (HD-79) and Rep. Greg Vanwoerkom (R-Norton Shores)/Bricker (HD-88).
The DeVos family is not endorsing in the other three races — Rep. Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers) (HD-36), Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford) (HD-51) and Jon Rocha (HD-79).
The Michigan Trump Republicans, an outcropping of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, has endorsed in an additional congressional race — Seely in the 8th Congressional District. The DeVoses are not invested in that race.
The Michigan Trump Republicans also endorsed in seven state Senate races. The only one of the seven where the DeVoses put in money was for Triston Cole over Michigan Trump Republicans favorite George Ranville in the 37th Senate District.
On the House side, the Michigan Trump Republicans endorsed in 41 races outside of the Trump endorsement. Of those, the DeVoses put money into 16 opposing candidates, either directly or through two funds into which they contribute heavily — the Michigan Freedom Fund and the Great Lakes Education Project.
The 16 are:
Counts/Howey (HD-27), Biniecki/Hall-Valade (HD-31), Fink/Meckley (HD-35), Rep. @Wendzel/Nilson (HD-39), Rep. Matt Hall (R-Comstock Township)/Mitchell (HD-42), Steele/Kiesel (HD-54), Rep. Terence Mekoski (R-Harrison Twp.)/Sen. @Wozniak (HD-59), Marino/Zarife (HD-62), Rep. Phil Green (R-Millington)/Moore (HD-67), Rep. Graham Filler (R-DeWitt)/Hoover (HD-93), Sen. Curtis Vanderwall (R-Ludington)/Sebolt (HD-102), Rep. Jack O’Malley (R-Lake Ann)/Cerone (HD-104), Rep. Ken Borton (R-Gaylord)/Morley (HD-105), Cavitt/Balog (HD-106), Fairbairn/Friske (HD-107) and Gray/Wagner (HD-109).
In five cases, DeVos money is going toward a Michigan Trump Republican where there is a Republican primary: Rep. Brad Paquette (R-Niles) (HD-37), Rep. Mark Tisdel (R-Rochester Hills), Michelle Smith (HD-58) Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden) (HD-72) and Diane Schindlbeck (HD-101), although Schindlbeck is the only one with a truly competitive race.
There’s six candidates where DeVos money is going toward a Michigan Trump Republican where the Republican candidate is the only one on the ballot: Anthony Paesano (HD-19), Dave Morgan (HD-44) Rep. Mike Harris (R-Clarkston) (HD-52), Thomas Kuhn (HD-57), Joseph Aragona (HD-60) And Jaime Greene (HD-65).
There are 14 races where the DeVoses didn’t participate in a race with a Trump Republican-endorsed candidate.
The news came after Trump hinted on the Clay Travis & Buck Sexton podcast about Dixon that, “I gave her a good plug. I haven’t endorsed her, yet, but I may very well do it today.”
The pro-Dixon SuperPAC Michigan Families United is using Trump’s past statements on Dixon in its weekend ad. During a Washington Township rally, he called her “brilliant, fantastic.”
Candidate Garrett Soldano attempted to get Trump to back off this morning after he said in a social media post that he was giving “Tudor Dixon a good, hard look. Brought her to everyone’s attention at our big Michigan rally. All of her supporters are working hard for Endorsement/Victory. Stay tuned!”
“Mr. President you have a choice to be with the grassroots who back you 100% or the establishment who supports you only when it benefits them,” Soldano wrote. “Let us fight this battle. We’re gonna be behind the nominee, but don’t side with the DeVos family!”
Kelley wrote on social media “A message to President Trump. Vote Ryan Kelley Aug. 2nd.”
Pro-Life Groups Spending Six Figures For Dixon
Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of SBA Pro-Life America, announced Friday a six-figure independent expenditure campaign to “expose Gretchen Whitmer ‘s abortion extremism” and urge support for Tudor Dixon in Michigan gubernatorial race.
“Tudor Dixon is the champion pro-life Michiganders need and deserve in the Dobbs era now that their voices can finally be heard,” said Mallory Carroll, national spokeswoman for Women Speak Out PAC.
Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite said:
“All this outside money will do little to blunt the fact that Tudor Dixon has had stumble after stumble in the final weeks of this chaotic Republican gubernatorial primary, crumbling under the slightest scrutiny of her wrong-for-Michigan agenda that would ban abortion even for children who are the victims of incestual rape, slash millions from law enforcement budgets, and dismantle public education,” No amount of special interest money can distract Michiganders from Dixon’s dangerous agenda.”