Conservative host Tudor Dixon announces run for Michigan governor

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Conservative media host Tudor Dixon has announced she will run in Michigan's GOP gubernatorial primary in a bid to challenge Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the 2022 election. 

Dixon, of Norton Shores, announced her candidacy Thursday on Twitter, linking to a Fox News article also announcing her run for governor.

Dixon hosts a daily show called "America's Voice Live" on the online media platform Real America's Voice. She formerly worked in sales for the steel industry and is the mother of four children. 

"I am excited to announce that I am running for governor to get Michigan back on track," Dixon said on Twitter. "We will restore our state and help Michiganders build their American Dream once again!"

Dixon has been a vocal critic of Whitmer's pandemic restrictions and, on Thursday, called for an end to the state's remaining restrictions and the governor's "failed leadership."

"...We must hold our governor and government accountable for overstepping their boundaries, attacking our workers and businesses, erasing our rights as free people, and for creating rules they won't live by themselves," Dixon said in a statement announcing her candidacy.

"We can't afford to keep wasting time with the constant hypocrisy and finger-pointing of career politicians like Gretchen Whitmer," she said.

Dixon told WILS's Dave Akerly Thursday that she had a campaign team made up of individuals in Michigan and Florida.

When asked about former President Donald Trump's role in the 2022 elections, Dixon said he still had power among Republicans. Dixon indicated on Twitter that she met Trump earlier this month.

"He’s a very key component and he has a lot of influence over what happens," Dixon said. "He will for quite a long time. He’s going to be an interesting factor and we’re going to watch how he impacts all of these races across the country.

"If there are people out there saying that Donald Trump is not going to be important in 2022, they’re going to be sorely mistaken," Dixon said.

Tudor Dixon

Whitmer held a press conference in Midland Thursday and announced accelerated plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions, detailing her intention to end statewide mandates on July 1 and, for the most part, bring life "back to normal."

The Michigan Democratic Party on Thursday criticized Dixon for her support of a West Michigan restaurant owner who was arrested in March after she failed to comply with public health orders. Dixon spoke at a rally March 20 in support of Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, owner of Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland.

The party said Dixon's candidacy is proof of Republicans' "recruitment car crash."

"We’re confident that this shallow field of extremists is a direct result of the strong, steady leadership that continues to define Gov. Whitmer’s first term," said Rodericka Applewhaite, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Democratic Party. "As we exit this pandemic, Michiganders will recall her record of saving lives, helping our economy recover, making the largest investment in K-12 education in state history — without raising taxes — and creating 11,000 new auto jobs.” 

Dixon's team said it expected "finger pointing," "name calling" and deflection from "liberal insiders and a career politician."

"The Michigan Democrat Party can project all they want, but this campaign is going to focus on common sense solutions and accountability, two things that have been missing in Lansing," said Taylor Budowich, a campaign senior adviser. 

Dixon is running in the Republican gubernatorial primary where she is expected to face retiring Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who has yet to announce formally his candidacy. Other Republican candidates who have formed campaign committees to run for governor are chiropractor Garrett Soldano of Mattawan, Austin Chenge of Grand Rapids, Ryan Kelley of Allendale and Bob Scott of Howell. 

Other names that have been floated for the Republican gubernatorial ticket are Farmington Hills businessman John James, who has run competitive campaigns for the U.S. Senate in 2018 and 2020, and Kevin Rinke, whose family ran auto dealerships in Metro Detroit. 

Dixon's conservative co-host Steve Gruber backed her candidacy Thursday, calling Dixon one of the "most honest and honorable I have ever met."

"Tudor's work ethic is second to none and her motivation to be Governor of Michigan is pure. She simply believes she can do better — for all of us," Gruber said on Twitter. "I wish her the very best!"

A request for comment to Whitmer's spokesman was not immediately returned. 

Staff Writer Craig Mauger contributed.

eleblanc@detroitnews.com