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Whitmer vs. Trump in 2022?

In 2022, incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will face some GOP opponent in her bid for four more years, but for the first time she is conceding she may face another indirect opponent namely former President Donald Trump.

“Sadly that’s what happened last time,” she notes and she does not rule out the possibility that he would inject himself into the governor’s race in Michigan again.

Recall that Mr. Trump and GOP opponent Bill Schuette were joined at the hip in Mr. Schuette’s ill-fated attempt to defeat her. Now comes the next race with the question to the governor, “Do you expect Mr. Trump to come in and campaign against you?”

The governor is reflective saying, “who knows that the next six months will hold for him but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Instead of just campaigning for a GOP opponent, one strategy for Mr. Trump, if he is still engaged politically, is to hand pick an opponent, bankroll him or her and then campaign with his candidate all over the state.

To which the governor concedes, “It’s very possible. It depends on what the next six to 12 months will hold for him.”

Note that the soon-to-be former president has already telegraphed that he intends to insert himself in the Ohio governor’s primary race as he is offended by the current GOP governor Mike DeWine. He’s making the same noises about the current governor of Maryland who could also face a Trump-endorsed primary opponent.

It’s pretty clear that Mr. Trump wants to remain relevant and in the game. His critics argue his ego demands the spotlight and what better way then to play kingmaker for candidates who then turn around and try to take out his political enemies as they seek their own re-election.

It’s not a stretch to make the case for Mr. Trump’s insertion into this Michigan contest.

You can see him now, staging a host of his packed MAGA rallies from the tip of the U.P. to Monroe and at each he would blast the governor for “closing the state” and for “costing thousands of jobs” and doing a lousy job curtailing the pandemic. And don’t forget in the November election, he shocked the political class by attracting even more Trumpers than the last time he ran.

In a word he would be a force to contend with.

Laying the groundwork for this possible interference, recall that he and the governor engaged in what turned into a torrid tweet war that began when she called him out for telling the state governors, in dire need of PPE at the onset of the virus, that “I’m not your shipping clerk. Find the stuff on your own.”

The rest is history as he made the governor a household name by calling her “that woman from Michigan” and she returned the volley in her infamous response, “My name is Gretchen Whitmer Mr. President.” And it was off to the races after that.

But the governor’s backers are also thinking. Mr.Trump still lost the state of Michigan by 150,000+ votes and having him in the race could backfire and actually fire up the governor’s troops to try even harder to defeat the interloper.

In light of all that, the governor was reminded during the taping of An Evening with the Governor (WKAR.org) that many observers think Mr. Trump is vindictive and she was asked, “don’t you think he’d like to come in and defeat you in Michigan?”

She smiles and offers, “Possibly, but I think he has a long list.”

However, “You might be at the very top, governor,” the anchor suggested.

“I might be, but I can’t control that,” she concludes.

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