Incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Tudor Dixon (R), and five other candidates are running in the general election on November 8, 2022, for governor of Michigan.
Whitmer was first elected governor in 2018. She served as a member of the state House from 2001 to 2006 and the state Senate from 2006 to 2015. Whitmer has highlighted her experience as governor, saying she “has created jobs, led the way for business investment, moved dirt to fix the damn roads, and invested in education.”
Dixon worked in steel sales from 2002 to 2017 before entering news media and joining America’s Voice News as an anchor. Dixon said she was “running for governor to get us back on track,” saying she would create a “family-friendly Michigan, one with good careers, better schools, safe communities, and … roads you can actually drive on.”
Whitmer won the office in 2018 by defeating Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) 53% to 44%. Whitmer succeeded Rick Snyder (R), switching partisan control of the governorship to Democrats, who had held the office from 2002 to 2010.
In the 2020 presidential election, Michigan was one of five states that voted for Joe Biden (D) after voting for Donald Trump (R) in 2016. Trump’s 2016 win in the state was the first time Michigan supported a Republican for president since 1988. In 2016, Trump won Michigan by a margin of 0.3 percentage points. Biden won Michigan by 2.8 percentage points in 2020.
If Whitmer wins re-election, she will be the first governor elected from the same party as the sitting president since 1990. Between 1994 and 2018, Michiganders elected governors from the opposite party as the sitting president. In 1990, voters elected John Engler (R) during the presidency of George H.W. Bush (R).
If Dixon or another candidate other than Whitmer wins, Whitmer will be the first governor to lose re-election to a second term in office since 1962 when Gov. John Swainson (D) lost his first re-election bid to George Romney (R).
Michigan is one of 13 states with a divided government with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both chambers of the state legislature. Since 1992, Michigan has had a divided government for 17 years, and a Republican trifecta for the remaining 14.
Kevin Hogan (G), Mary Buzuma (L), Daryl Simpson (Natural Law), Donna Brandenburg (U.S. Taxpayers), and Evan Space (I) are also running. Minor party and independent candidates collectively received 3.6% of the vote in 2018.