News & Politics

Republicans Seem to Be Living Rent-Free in Gretchen Whitmer's Head These Days

Michigan Office of the Governor via AP

 

Only 10 days after announcing his candidacy, is James Craig already in Gretchen Whitmer’s head?

Michigan’s governor is easing her state’s COVID-19 edicts, as polls show the embattled executive trailing the retired Detroit police chief and potential Republican gubernatorial nominee.

Whitmer achieved notoriety by implementing some of the nation’s most draconian pandemic restrictions before pushback from legislators. While she became a GOP target, she was also briefly considered a running mate option for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden.

But Whitmer’s approval rating — nearly 60 percent a year ago — cratered to 50 percent in May, and is now below 50. Polling shows that dip primarily comes from those crucial independent voters.

Whitmer and the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature recently agreed to a budget proposal ahead of an Oct. 1 deadline that prohibits health officials from implementing school mask mandates, leaving those decisions to local school boards. The budget also prohibits state agencies from requiring their employees to be vaccinated.

It seems now that she’s in a tussle for reelection, Whitmer wisely defers to the locals, which is telling.

Ronna McDaniel acknowledged in a recent speech that she considered running against Whitmer.

“She is the absolute worst governor in the whole country,” the GOP chairwoman said at a Friday conference on Mackinac Island.

McDaniel, who once led the Michigan Republican Party, said Whitmer did not do enough to keep kids in school during the pandemic and also labeled her a hypocrite, likely for actions like these.

Former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also spoke at the gathering.

The Michigan native compared her time in Washington, D.C., to a dental visit, explaining how it was useful, but she was happy when it concluded.

One of the bright spots, DeVos said, was that she “didn’t have to live under the thumb of that woman from Michigan,” a reference to Whitmer.

Craig, former media host Tudor Dixon, and political outsider Garrett Soldano are Republican frontrunners for the GOP primary in August 2022. The 65-year-old Craig would be Michigan’s first black governor if elected.