What People Are Saying About the First 2022 General Election Debate

At tonight’s first debate of the general election, Michiganders saw Tudor Dixon’s divisive rhetoric and backwards vision for our state crumble against Governor Whitmer’s strong record of accomplishments that have strengthened the economy and kept working families first. Solutions were few and far between from Dixon’s side of the stage as she focused on hurling criticisms that got voters no closer to understanding what she would do to protect abortion access, fund law enforcement, fix and improve infrastructure, strenghten our economy, and invest in public schools.

See below for reactions to tonight’s performance.

Govenor Whitmer Highlighted the Decisions She Made to Protect Abortion Access in Michigan and Took Tudor Dixon to Task Over Her Extreme Stances on Choice

Rachel Lousie Just (WWMT): Abortion is the first question from a viewer. Dixon told me a few weeks ago she didn’t believe abortion was a relevant issue in the governor’s race.

Whitmer: The only reason abortion is still accessible is because of my lawsuit. “When Roe fell, Mrs. Dixon celebrated that.”

Alice Miranda Ollstein (Politico): “Our fundamental rights are at risk right now,” Whitmer says, arguing that her lawsuit against the state’s 1931 ban is currently the only thing standing between the state and enforcement of the pre-Roe ban.

Danielle James (MIRS): The first question is an explainer on abortion positions. @GovWhitmer said abortion is an issue the governor absolutely has an impact on, and said Dixon is either “woefully under-informed on the office she’s running for or she’s lying to you.”

David Eggert (Crain’s Business Detroit): 1st question is about abortion, in wheelhouse of Whitmer. She says she opposes overturning Roe v. Wade, cites her lawsuit. Says she’ll vote yes on Prop 3. Dixon says she is pro-life with exceptions for life of the woman (not rape, incest).

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Gov. Whitmer says: To protect our rights, we cannot trust Mrs. Dixon.

David Eggert (Crain’s Business Detroit): Dixon says governor can’t go around constitutional amendment if voters approve Prop 3. Whitmer says the next governor will absolutely impact abortion rights.

Governor Whitmer Pointed Out The Fact That Tudor Dixon is a Well-Documented Election Conspiracy Theorist – Which Dixon Dodged

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Gov. Whitmer fires back at Dixon’s response: “This is a candidate who still denies the outcome of the 2020 election.”

Rachel Lousie Just (WWMT): Whitmer says voters can’t trust Dixon will respect the will of the voter when she still denies the results of the 2020 election. Dixon has questioned aspects of the 2020 presidential election results, despite 250+ audits showing no major voter fraud.

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): Whitmer on Dixon and Prop 3: “For her to stand here and say she will respect the will of the people when she has not even embraced the outcome of the last election … tells me we cannot trust what she’s saying.”

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Tudor Dixon doesn’t address the election-related comment in her rebuttal.

Governor Whitmer Touted Her Record Securing Historic, Bipartisan Investments in Public Education and Called Dixon Out For Pushing Betsy DeVos’ Voucher Plan

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): Whitmer: “This is personal for me. I know that education is what levels the playing field.” Touts budget that had largest investment in education in MI history, a budget she negotiated with GOP-led legislature. “There is more good work we need to do.”

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): Whitmer has now twice brought up fmr. U.S. Education Sec. Betsy DeVos’ investment in Dixon. Says DeVos’ funding of Dixon is impacting Dixon’s policies.

Sam Robinson (Axios): Dixon hitting Whitmer over veto of school scholarship program that turned into Let MI Kids Learn, Democrats call it a voucher program. Whitmer says “Betsy DeVos’ voucher plan” might help DeVos or Dixon because their kids go to private schools.

Governor Whitmer Defended The Life-Saving Decisions She Made at the Height of the COVID-19 Pandemic

David Eggert (Crain’s Business Detroit): Whitmer, asked if she would have done anything differently when COVID-19 hit, says it was a novel virus. Notes 30,000 people died from it. ‘Sure, I would have made some different decisions but we were working in a crisis and lives were on the line.’

Rachel Lousie Just (WWMT): Whitmer: “None of what my opponent just said is true. While my life was being threatened for making hard decisions to take care of our state, Mrs. Dixon was spreading conspiracy theories.”

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): Whitmer and Dixon sparring over Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19. Whitmer on Dixon: “Had she been governor during the pandemic, thousands of more people would have died.”

Michigan Reporters Noted How the State of Michigan’s Infrastructure Has Improved Under Governor Whitmer’s Leadership

Ilene J. Gould (WXMI): Seventh topic: Electric vehicles & infrastructure @GovWhitmer: “We are fixing the damn roads and moving dirt. But you don’t overcome decades of disinvestment in four years.”

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): Fact-check on Dixon’s claims roads in Michigan are in worse condition: Not true, according to Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council data. 67% of roads in Michigan are rated in good or fair condition, up from 61% in 2019 when @GrethenWhitmer became governor.

Governor Whitmer Reminded Michiganders That Tudor Dixon Has No Plan for Any Aspect of Public Safety, Including School Shootings, Getting Guns Off Streets, and Violence Prevention

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): Whitmer: “My opponent is long on rhetoric and short on facts. And that’s okay.” Says she’s been investing in law enforcement and will continue to do so.

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): W: Dixon is committed to talking points. I just signed bill to boost road patrols and she was endorsed by several other police organizations.

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): In a period of a few minutes, Gov. Whitmer labels Tudor Dixon “long on rhetoric and short on facts” and “committed to her talking points.”

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): Whitmer: “I’d be happy to give my 30 seconds to Mrs. Dixon if she’d be able to give us her plan to get guns out of our communities. I haven’t heard that – you haven’t heard that.” Dixon is not given the chance to respond to that since she already used up her response for this Q.

Dave Eggert (Crain’s Detroit): Next question on school safety/gun violence. Whitmer says Dixon will ‘put the Second Amendment before second-graders every time.’ Dixon accuses Whitmer of not wanting to ensure (teachers?) in schools can use guns to stop a shooting.

Lis Smith: Good line from @gretchenwhitmer: “Tudor Dixon will put the 2nd amendment before 2nd graders every time.” #MIGov #MIGovDebate

Rachel Lousie Just (WWMT): Whitmer: “As a mom, I am furious. I am furious that in this country, and only in this country, the number one cause of death for children is firearms.” Says she’s supportive of red flag laws + other gun safety measures.Dixon says schools should be “hardened” to keep kids safe.

Samuel J. Robinson (Axios Detroit): “I don’t know there’s any facts behind what she just said,” Whitmer says. She supports secure storage, background checks that Republican lawmakers in Michigan have refused to give a committee hearing to.

The Debate Ended as it Started. Governor Whitmer Offered Real Solutions While Voters Got No Further Insight Into Tudor Dixon’s Harmful and Dangerous Agenda

Zack Stanton (Politico): So far, this #MIGOVDEBATE is just haymaker after haymaker.

But that said: It’s hard for me to see who Tudor Dixon is winning over in this debate that wasn’t already planning to vote for her.

Zack Stanton (Politico): Just because you can dial the rhetoric up to 11 doesn’t mean you should.

Sam Robinson (Axios): “(Whitmer) had [to] have her powers removed by the supreme court. Do not trust her with another four years to terrorize you,” Dixon says. “We’ve heard grievances tonight, I haven’t heard solutions,” Whitmer says.

Emily Lawler (Detroit Free Press): Whitmer says in closing statement what you heard from Dixon tonight was divisive rhetoric. “I don’t have time for that. I don’t think you do either,” Whitmer says.

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): W: I will work with anybody to find solutions, not people who want to complain. We have heard a lot of whining but not a lot of solutions from Dixon.

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): CLOSING STATEMENTS Whitmer: “You’ve heard divisive rhetoric from my opponent to pit us against one another for political gain. I don’t have time for that.” Says she wants everyone to be respected under the law, Michiganders “cannot trust people who peddle conspiracy theories”

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