Trump-Backed Candidate and Ex-Senate Leader Advance in Michigan Governor's Race

by | August 8, 2018

By Emily Lawler

Republican Bill Schuette and Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won their parties' respective primary elections Tuesday night, setting the two up for a showdown in the Nov. 6 general election.

Whitmer, a former Senate leader who gained fame for fighting the Senate's Republican super-majority with passion, had a 16-point lead over her next closest competitor as of 10:37 p.m., and won the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Attorney General Bill Schuette, a longtime elected official who has distanced himself from the Gov. Rick Snyder administration, got the endorsement of President Donald Trump. He won the nomination handily, leading his next-closest competitor by 27-point margin as of 10:37 p.m.

Both are seasoned politicians that have served in multiple political roles, and each bested competitors who ran from outsider perspectives.

Schuette was the presumed GOP frontrunner, and Whitmer was the presumed Democratic frontrunner. Polling put each candidate ahead of their opponents, though other campaigns questioned those polls in the days and weeks leading up to the election.

Schuette's platform includes bringing Michiganders better jobs and bigger paychecks. A big portion of his plan focuses on education, both in improving literacy for Michigan children and promoting pathways to the skilled trades.

Whitmer's platform includes improved skilled trades training, making changes to the education system, making health care more affordable, and the catchphrase she was perhaps most known for during the campaign: "fix the damn roads."

The parties squared up following the nomination of each candidate.

"Bill Schuette has spent his 30-year political career selling out our middle class to benefit himself and special interest donors. With Republican politicians in total control of Lansing for the past decade, we've suffered through crumbling roads, failing schools, attacks on workers and their wages, and entire cities that can't even drink tap water," said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon.

He praised Whitmer's nomination in a separate statement.

"Gretchen Whitmer is a tough, determined, and proven leader, who will be an unrelenting champion for our middle class as the next Governor of Michigan," Dillon said.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser.

"Bill Schuette has dedicated his life to fighting for the people of Michigan. As Attorney General, Bill has been a tireless advocate, tackling some of our state's most important issues including human trafficking, opioid addiction, the processing of rape kits, and defending our schools from violence," Weiser said in a statement.

"I am proud to stand with Bill Schuette and know that as our next Governor, he will lead our state into another decade of prosperity. He has my full support and the Michigan Republican Party will work tirelessly to ensure that Bill is victorious in November."

The Associated Press has not yet called the race for the Libertarian nomination, where Bill Gelineau is leading John Tatar. Other parties can place candidates on the ballot through a party nomination process.

The general election, in which Michiganders will select a governor, takes place on Nov. 6, 2018.

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