After the Michigan primary results on August 2nd concluded, businesswoman Tudor Dixon won the GOP nomination for the chance to face off against Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November. It will be one of the most hotly contested gubernatorial elections in the country. Tudor Dixon has had a wild adventure throughout this primary and arguably wouldn’t be here today without a decent amount of luck on her side.
The first poll that was seen from the GOP primary for Michigan governor was released around September of last year. The results showed Detroit police chief James Craig leading the field with a strong 40% of the vote. Garrett Soldano was the only other candidate to hit double digits with 10% support. As for Tudor Dixon? She received a grand total of 1% support among GOP voters. A swarm of other businessmen quickly joined the race and received a decent chunk of support. This included Perry Johnson, Kevin Rinke, and Ryan Kelley, all three of whom polled higher than eventual winner Tudor Dixon. Despite all of these new additions to the race, conventional wisdom said that James Craig would without a doubt end up as the nominee. But then a bizarre twist upended the race.
The Michigan Board of Elections on May 23, 2022 ruled that James Craig, Perry Johnson, and three other minor candidates would all be removed from the ballot for a failure of submitting enough valid signatures required for ballot access. The state concluded that there were as many as 68,000 fraudulent signatures and as a result, the GOP frontrunner along with the GOP runner up would be removed from the competition.
A Scramble for Candidates
This obviously threw a huge wrench in the race and the candidates remaining, along with the GOP establishment, began scrambling. It was too late for MI GOP power players to recruit anyone new. They had to find a suitable replacement that was already in the race. A poll that was released following the removal of Perry Johnson and James Craig showed Tudor Dixon at 9%, Garrett Soldano at 6%, Kevin Rinke at 15%, and Ryan Kelley at 19%. It appeared as if real estate broker Ryan Kelley was the new (albeit fragile) frontrunner. But then another unexpected event shocked the race.
The GOP establishment was concerned about Ryan Kelley due to his involvement in the January 6th Capitol riot. These concerns proved valid as in early June, Kelley was arrested by the FBI for his involvement in the insurrection. He was charged for four misdemeanors, all relating to his involvement in the January 6th attack. He was eventually released, but regardless, it is not good news when you are a candidate for governor who gets arrested by the FBI. His frontrunner status fell shortly after.
Finally it was Tudor Dixon’s time to shine. She received support from the powerful Devos family who funded a large portion of the ad spending a super PAC spent on behalf of Dixon. She was quickly endorsed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and received backing from the state affiliate of Americans for Prosperity. The icing on the cake came a week before the primary when former President Donald Trump gave Tudor Dixon his complete and total endorsement. She ended up winning the five way race with just over 40% of the vote.
Tudor Dixon worked very hard and clearly impressed many powerful people in the state. She traveled all across the state and left an impression on hundreds of thousands of people who cast their ballots for her. However, her wild ride over the last several months of this campaign has also proven another golden rule in politics: working hard is always great but sometimes fate and luck are more than enough to help you win it all.