Donald Trump vows Tudor Dixon will fight for 'election integrity'

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Former President Donald Trump contended Monday that conservative commentator Tudor Dixon is the Republican candidate needed to "take back" Michigan from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Speaking for about five minutes, Trump touted Dixon of Norton Shores during a "tele-rally" on the eve of the Tuesday primary election, in which Republican voters will pick one of five candidates to be their nominee for the state's top job.

Some Republicans criticized Dixon in recent days for changing her answers on whether Michigan's 2020 presidential election was swayed by widespread fraud. Trump has maintained unproven claims that wrongdoing cost him his race against Democrat Joe Biden.

Former President Donald Trump

"Tudor will fight, and strongly fight, for election integrity," Trump said at one point during Monday's call. "Because what went on with the election in Michigan was outrageous."

Trump lost the battleground state by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points to Democrat Joe Biden in November 2020. The result has been upheld by a series of court rulings, more than 200 audits and an investigation by the GOP-controlled state Senate Oversight Committee.

After a months-long fight for his endorsement, Trump, who remains an influential figure in GOP politics, announced his support for Dixon on Friday, four days before the primary election.

On Sunday morning, Dixon appeared on "Fox News Sunday," where host Bret Baier pressed her on whether the November 2020 election had been stolen from Trump as the ex-president has maintained for 20 months.

"It's certainly a concern to a lot of folks here in Michigan because of the way the election was handled by our secretary of state," responded Dixon, referring to Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

At a May 12 debate in Livingston County, Dixon was among a group of Republican candidates who said they believed Trump had won Michigan's election. But in a 2021 interview, asked if Trump had won the state, Dixon didn't respond with a direct "yes" or "no."

One of Dixon's primary opponents, businessman Kevin Rinke of Bloomfield Township, said Dixon had "completely flip-flopped on national television." And chiropractor Garrett Soldano of Mattawan said she was turning "her back on those who fought for President Trump."

On the campaign trail, Dixon has called for expanding voter identification requirements and cleaning up lists of eligible voters.

Likely Republican primary voters were able to call into Monday night's "tele-rally" with Trump and Dixon. The event was brief, but Trump urged listeners to support Dixon.

He also mentioned John Gibbs, who's challenging U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, and Jonathan Lindsey, who's opposing incumbent Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Niles.

"Tudor is the only candidate in the race who has my complete and total endorsement," the former president said of the governor's primary.

"Everybody's nice," he added of the candidates in the race. "I am endorsing Tudor Dixon. She's really going to be something special."