Grassroots Activism May Have Turned Tide in Michigan Governor’s Race

By Steven Kovac
Steven Kovac
Steven Kovac
Steven Kovac reports for The Epoch Times from Michigan. He is a general news reporter who has covered topics related to rising consumer prices to election security issues. He is a former small-business owner, local elected official, and conservative political activist. He can be reached at
November 1, 2022Updated: November 3, 2022

The same grassroots citizen activism that helped elect Republican Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia is fueling a final stretch surge for Tudor Dixon’s campaign to become the next governor of Michigan.

In recent weeks, incumbent Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s double-digit lead over Dixon, a Republican, has evaporated, with most observers now calling the race a dead heat.

Dixon’s surge in the polls is no surprise to Tammy Clark, vice president of a grassroots citizens’ group called Stand Up Michigan–We the People.

“The timing of Tudor’s rise in the polls coincides exactly with the acceleration of our ‘Empower Families and Protect Children Bus Tour,’” Clark told The Epoch Times.

Clark, a Michigan resident, is a veteran of last year’s successful campaign by Stand Up Virginia that helped to elect Youngkin.

Epoch Times Photo
Grassroots political activist Tammy Clark at the Empower Families-Protect Children rally at St. Clair, Mich., on Oct. 27, 2022. (Steven Kovac/The Epoch Times)

Calling herself an “accidental activist,” Clark addressed a standing-room-only rally crowd that assembled on Oct. 27 in a large church auditorium in the southeastern Michigan town of St. Clair.

“I became sick and tired of government lies about the pandemic and seeing my children being controlled by sociopaths in our education system.

“People like me all over Michigan are saying ‘I’ve had enough! What can I do to make a difference?’

“Get involved in your local community and get out and vote in such numbers that we can overwhelm the mechanisms of fraud and cheating!” she said.

For Whitmer, incumbency has its advantages and disadvantages.

Over four years in office, the first-term governor has amassed a formidable campaign war chest and has been able to significantly outspend Dixon on advertising. The downside of her incumbency is that Dixon is forcing her to defend her record, calling Whitmer’s standing for reelection a “performance evaluation.”

Whitmer has stated that she had to preside over some challenging times that required some difficult decisions, especially during the pandemic.

Widely regarded as a rising star in the Democratic Party, the first-term governor came under serious consideration to be Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020 before he decided on Kamala Harris.

Whitmer is an outspoken champion of “a woman’s right to an abortion” at any time and for any reason—an issue she is relying on heavily to put her over the top on election night.

Epoch Times Photo
(L) Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (C), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (2R), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) at a rally in Detroit, on March 9, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Dixon is strongly pro-life but says if she’s elected and a controversial pro-abortion ballot proposal is approved by voters on Nov. 8, she will abide by the will of the people.

Stand Up Michigan president Ron Armstrong told the rally audience: “We are all about empowering families and protecting our children. The people presently in positions of authority in Michigan do not represent our values.

“Don’t believe the media. They are deceiving us and helping the government to control us.”

Armstrong told The Epoch Times after the meeting, “Social media corporations are blocking out our message, so we are doing things the old-fashioned way.”

In recent weeks, the Stand Up Michigan bus tour has held events in Grand Rapids, Benton Harbor, Jackson County, suburban Detroit, Holland, Muskegon, and Port Huron.

The tour’s theme “Empower Families and Protect Children,” is resonating with audiences, Armstrong said.

The GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, Shane Hernandez, also was a speaker on the St. Clair program.

He told The Epoch Times that wherever he goes, he’s seeing big crowds turn out.

“Excitement is definitely on our side. You don’t see this kind of enthusiasm on the other side.”

Epoch Times Photo
Shane Hernandez, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Michigan, at the Empower Families-Protect Children rally in St. Clair, Mich. on Oct. 27, 2022. (Steven Kovac/The Epoch Times)

Headlining the program was Dixon, who received a standing ovation following her introduction and again at the conclusion of her remarks.

“After four years of Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan is in the bottom 10 of the 50 states in education and in the top 10 for most crime,” Dixon said.

She also pointed out that in 2021, the people of Michigan experienced the most drug overdoses in its history, while the U.S. border with Mexico remains wide open.

“Whitmer is ridin’ with Biden,” she quipped.

Dixon promised that, if elected, parents will have rights and “a say at the table about what our kids are being taught.”

“Everything is going in the wrong direction,” audience member Jeff Sebastian of Marysville commented when asked by The Epoch Times about conditions in Michigan. “Gas prices. Household budgets. Our leadership is out of touch with the governed. I’m voting for Tudor.”

Barbara from St. Clair said: “Tudor Dixon is a leader. She will represent the people and she is somebody we can believe,” while Carol from Greenwood stated that “Whitmer terrorized Michigan during COVID. She assumed powers that she was not supposed to have.”

The “nonsense of the school closures” during the pandemic and inflation were the biggest concerns of a retired auto worker named Joe from St. Clair Township.

Kristen Kelly, a Libertarian who is working on the bus tour, explained why she’s supporting Dixon: “The GOP is speaking on Libertarian issues. We need to put ego aside and work together to win this election.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, former state senator and election integrity watchdog Patrick Colbeck, candidate for the state board of education Tami Carlone, and Pastor Terry Kuhns of the Fellowship Baptist Church of East China, Michigan, also spoke at the rally.