Aug 7, 2018

Gretchen Whitmer wins governor's primary in Michigan

Gretchen Whitmer. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Gretchen Whitmer has won the Democratic primary for governor of Michigan.

Why it matters: This primary was a perfect example of the progressive left’s fight to shake up the Democratic Party. But Whitmer's victory shows Michiganders aren’t yet ready for a hard-left turn.

The progressive momentum behind Abdul El-Sayed was undeniable and we witnessed that when we visited Michigan 10 days before the primary. But it didn't capture a critical mass of voters in the state to move the needle in his direction.

Be smart: Women have been crushing in Democratic primaries this year and Whitmer is no exception. She was backed by EMILY's List, a group that has proven to rival Trump's power in the primaries.

  • She’s viewed as more moderate than El-Sayed in that she has shown a willingness to work with Republicans and made an appeal to independent voters.
  • But she was one of the more progressive members of the Michigan state legislature, and was an outspoken supporter of reproductive rights.
  • The bottom line: She's probably the strongest Democratic candidate to face Republican Bill Schuette in the fall, but it's still expected to be an uphill battle for Democrats.
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