Not so long ago, Whitmer was a top Republican target. Conservatives believed they could capitalize on discontent with her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular.
Instead, the GOP has a candidate who hews to a hard-line anti-abortion position, meanders on whether the 2020 election was legitimate, and is suffering from a massive fundraising disadvantage.
But even some Republicans don’t think a Trump rally is going to turn things around for Dixon, who trailed Whitmer by 16 points in a poll last week from the Detroit Free Press.
“Here is the problem with these events: What does Trump do? He talks about the candidate he is allegedly there to support for about 60 seconds, he may or may not insult the candidate — as he did with J.D. Vance — and then the rest of it is the Trump Grievance Tour,” said Doug Heye, a former communications director for the Republican National Committee.
Heye added that Trump’s grievances — generally revolving around false claims of election fraud — “are of interest only to Trump, as opposed to the issues the candidate would prefer to be talking about.”
In Pennsylvania, Trump’s picks in Senate and gubernatorial races alike — Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano, respectively — are struggling. In Georgia, former football star Herschel Walker lagged Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) by 4 points in a Fox News poll this week.
On Thursday, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report shifted its rating of the gubernatorial races in Michigan and Pennsylvania from “lean Democratic” to “likely Democratic.”