Aug 25, 2022 - Politics

Republican convention is Trump's latest test

Illustration of President Trump sitting on the tallest of five bars of a bar chart.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Michigan Republican Party faces its latest test following GOP gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon's pick for lieutenant governor.

What's happening: Ralph Rebandt, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate, announced he would challenge Dixon's pick for L.G., former state representative Shane Hernandez of Port Huron.

  • Another former candidate, Garrett Soldano, backed down from the potential challenge shortly before Hernandez earned an endorsement from former President Trump, who called on Michigan Republicans to unite in order to defeat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

What they're saying: "Many of the grassroots were surprised at [Trump's] pick for Tudor … Those folks happen to be delegates who are extremely engaged, know what’s going on, and those delegates have a different mindset than the general population does," Rebandt told Michigan Radio.

Context: Rebandt faces an uphill battle — he would need the majority of the delegates at this Saturday's nominating convention in Lansing to vote against Hernandez before even having a shot at vying for the nomination, MIGOP deputy chief of staff Gustavo Portela tells Axios.

  • "Hernandez is going to get an up and down 'yes' or 'no' for the nomination for lieutenant governor," he says . "If that goes sideways for Shane and it's a no, then Ralph can run."

Between the lines: A potential nomination fight that would've challenged party unity would have been much more likely had Soldano not backed out.

  • For that to happen now, delegates would have to defy Trump's endorsement of Hernandez, something we haven't seen to this point.
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