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Whitmer leads Democrats to historic victory sweep

Gretchen Whitmer
Ford School of Public Policy
Gretchen Whitmer

Governor Gretchen Whitmer formally declared herself the winner of Tuesday’s election after a few hours of sleep and a phone call from Republican nominee Tudor Dixon to concede the race.

“We’re going to move this state forward,” she told a crowd of happy supporters who gathered at a Detroit hotel ballroom the morning after the election. “We’re going to move this state forward and I am excited about the work we are going to continue to do together.”

Dixon released a statement after conceding:

“I called Governor Whitmer this morning to concede and wish her well. Michigan’s future rests not in elected officials or government, but all of us. It is incumbent on all of us to help our children read, support law enforcement and grow our economy. Thank you to our volunteers and supporters for working so hard to forge a better Michigan. We came up short, but we will never stop fighting for our families.”

It also appears Democrats will take control of both the Michigan House and Senatewith slim majorities. This would be the first time in nearly four decades that Democrats will control the governor’s office, the House and the Senate.

Without offering specifics, Whitmer set the stage for some goals in the coming four years, starting with the two-year legislative session that will begin in January.

“Our story is defined by movements for women’s rights and civil rights and LGBTQ rights,” she said, “and our lives have been shaped by generations of Michiganders who unionized and fought for better pay and benefits.”

She can expect Republican opposition to many of those goals, including, for example, expanding Michigan’s anti-discrimination lawto cover LGBTQ rights. And Republican leaders said they intend to act as a check on Democrats with slim majorities.

In a statement, House SpeakerJason Wentworth predicted full Democratic control of the Legislature would be brief. He blamed a challenging political environment for Republicans, outside political spending in Michigan, and redistricting for a bad election season for the GOP -- which suffered losses from the top of the ticket down to statewide university board races.

“House Democrats ran a good race this year, but House Republicans will be back in majority in two years to continue our work,” he said.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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