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Cook Political Report: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Won’t Be “As Easy to Knock Off” As Republicans Hoped

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Cook Political Report’s 2022 governor ratings released last week bears bad news for Republicans in Michigan – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “won’t be as easy to knock off as some Republicans had initially hoped.” Cook rated the seat in Gov. Whitmer’s favor as “lean Democrat.”

The race ratings agency cited Gov. Whitmer’s consistently high approval ratings, and pointed out that while governors’ races don’t typically get as much national attention as Congressional and Senate ones, that could all change in 2022 as “the pandemic has underscored how critical the post is.”

Gov. Whitmer has stood out as a leader on the COVID-19 crisis. She’s remained focused on governing based on science and data, most recently implementing a “pause” to slow the spread of COVID-19 – an effort that appears to have reduced cases for now. Gov. Whitmer’s approval rating is higher than Republicans in the legislature, who are trying to strip her of emergency powers in the middle of a pandemic.

Michigan Republicans are starting off the 2022 race on a bad foot – they lost their top recruit for governor, and the party has been in a constant state of chaos ever since. So far, the announced candidates to take on Gov. Whitmer are Allendale Township official Ryan Kelley, who is facing calls for removal from his position after he was spotted at the U.S. Capitol insurrection, and Austin Chenge, who was with Kelley in supporting the violent mob at the Capitol. Yikes.

“Don’t underestimate ‘that woman from Michigan,’” said DGA Communications Director David Turner. “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is in a strong position heading into her re-election, with her approval ratings remaining consistently high as a testament to her incredible leadership. Meanwhile, Republicans are floundering to find someone who hasn’t made a sexist comment and/or doesn’t have ties to right-wing extremists.”