'A common middle ground': These Michigan Republicans are campaigning for Gretchen Whitmer — here’s why

'A common middle ground': These Michigan Republicans are campaigning for Gretchen Whitmer — here’s why
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In Michigan’s 2022 gubernatorial race, Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been hammering GOP rival Tudor Dixon relentlessly on the abortion issue. One of the Whitmer campaign’s attack ads stresses that Dixon opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and Whitmer has been painting Dixon not as a traditional conservative, but as a far-right authoritarian extremist.

That type of anti-Dixon messaging may be working even with voters on the right. A new group of pro-Whitmer Republicans, according to The Hill, has more than 150 members so far.

In an article published by The Hill on September 12, journalist Brad Dress reports, “Republicans for Whitmer is led by a leadership council of 35 Republicans from Michigan, including business leaders, former lawmakers and staff who served under former state GOP Govs. John Engler and Rick Snyder.”

READ MORE: Two men found guilty in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

One of the Michigan residents who has been active in Republicans for Whitmer is Bill Parfet, CEO of the real estate company Northwood Group. In an official statement, Parfet said, “Among those running for election in November, there exists a group of individuals — some Democrats, some Republicans — that are willing to work together to find a common middle ground where progress can be made.… The best person to lead that effort is Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.”

Another Republicans for Whitmer member, Grand Rapids resident and self-described “moderate Republican” Judy Frey, applauds Whitmer’s stand on abortion in a new video. The Democratic governor is supporting a ballot measure that would include abortion rights in Michigan’s state constitution, and Frey supports the measure.

Former Rep. Joe Schwarz, who represented Michigan as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, is supporting Whitmer as well. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump is supporting Dixon.

Recent polls indicate that the Whitmer campaign’s anti-Dixon attack ads may be working. A Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll released on September 7 found Dixon trailing Whitmer by 13 percent. And an EPIC-MRA poll released in late August found Whitmer ahead by 11 perfect. But a Michigan News Source/Trafalgar poll from late August showed a closer race, with Whitmer leading by only 4 percent.

READ MORE: How Gretchen Whitmer and other Democratic governors are fighting to protect abortion rights

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