ROCHESTER, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – GOP challenger Tudor Dixon appears to be 2-0 in the Michigan gubernatorial debates after a second night of sparring with Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer  likely rallied her base and further catapulted her campaign.

In a similar fashion as the first debate two weeks ago, an uncharacteristically rattled Gov. Whitmer took the stage Tuesday night and opened with the same statements she’s made before – including in the last debate.

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“I was raised with a bipartisan household,” Whitmer said. “I made the biggest investment in K-12 education, and I’m fighting like hell for women in this state.”

Echoing a similar statement she made in front of the Detroit Economic Club on Friday, Whitmer said, “Are we going to go backwards or forwards? I say we step on accelerator.”

Dixon came out strong. “In 14 days you can put Michigan back on track,” Dixon said. “I’m running for governor because Gretchen Whitmer has taken us on the wrong track. Radical agendas lead to dangerous things. Our cities are less safe and the roads aren’t fixed. There’s no plan. That’s what my opponent has to offer,” she said.

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The first 15 minutes of the debate were spent on the issue of abortion and Proposal 3, which would enshrine abortion up to the moment of birth in the constitution, among other things.

“Proposal 3 is absolutely necessary to preserve the rights we’ve had for had 49 years under Roe v Wade,” Whitmer said.

“It’s unfortunate that [Whitmer] is not being honest about Proposal 3,” Dixon said. “It removes parental consent and allows someone other than a doctor to perform abortion. It does align with her agenda, and it would be the most radical abortion law in the country,” she said.

When the conversation turned to energy and Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, Whitmer appeared quick to support it.

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“There has been no change in Line 5 and the tunnel project is moving forward,” Whitmer said.

“Line 5 hasn’t been shut down, but that’s not because Gretchen Whitmer hasn’t tried,” Dixon said, referencing the lawsuits Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have brought against the company. “A shutdown would be catastrophic and raise our energy costs.”

Dixon did not miss an opportunity to push back against Whitmer’s statements, while the governor’s frequent rebuttal strategy involved “Listen, I want to look forward” and a frustrated “I don’t know how to respond to that.”

While COVID-19 is not a new topic in this debate, the idea of COVID-19 vaccines being required on a list of childhood immunizations is new. Last week, the CDC recommended this move.

Whitmer, who remained silent on this topic prior to the debate, did address it Tuesday night.

“I do not support the vaccine for children, Whitmer said. “But COVID hit our state hard. While I was getting death threats during COVID-19, [Dixon] was saying vaccines were the ‘Mark of the Beast.'”

“If that were true, why would I have gotten the vaccine myself?” Dixon asked Whitmer. Dixon reiterated that the choice to be vaccinated solely lies with each individual.

In closing, both candidates made one final plea for the votes of Michiganders.

“My opponent has shown she’s more interested in dividing us,” Whitmer said in closing. “When she’s not scripted and on stage, she stokes attacks.”

Dixon cut to the chase. “[Gretchen Whitmer’s] governorship is a disappointment and her radical policies have crushed this state,” Dixon said. “Michigan, you are not better off than you were four years ago. I want to be your governor and I promise to serve you well.”

The election is November 8.