Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faced off against Republican nominee Tudor Dixon in the final Michigan gubernatorial debate Tuesday night at Oakland University in the Metro Detroit area.
The debate took place at a critical juncture in the campaign that has significantly tightened recently. Whitmer’s once double-digit lead has evaporated. A recent Trafalgar poll has the race tied, and according to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Whitmer is only leading by 3.2 percentage points.
Throughout the debate, Trump-endorsed Dixon took aim at Whitmer’s strict lockdown policies during the pandemic, support of abortion, and handling of education.
During the debate, Dixon pledged not to follow a CDC recommendation to implement a vaccine mandate on school children when she said, “I want to be very clear about this. This is a parent’s decision. There will never be a mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine for children to go to school in a Dixon administration.”
Whitmer replied by claiming, “We’ve also had some historic challenges over the last four years. The kids were out for three months. For those who say children were kept out of classrooms for too long, as a mom, all I was thinking about was saving the lives of our kids.”
On inflation, Dixon claimed that Whitmer “has not done anything to help.” She further attacked Whitmer for vetoing a Republican legislative measure earlier this year that would have frozen the state’s 27 cents per gallon gas tax and warned that a recession “is at our doorstep,” thanks to Whitmer’s handling of the economy.
The candidates disagreed over a proposed Michigan ballot initiative protecting abortion in the state constitution.
Whitmer is a supporter of the proposal, while Dixon, who opposes abortion except to save the life of the mother, claimed the proposal would allow abortion “up to the moment of birth for any reason.” The Trump-endorsed candidate also called the abortion proposal the “most radical abortion law in the country.”
Despite being out-fundraised by as much as 28-1, and massively outspent in political advertising, Dixon is in striking distance of dethroning Whitmer.