MIchigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer appears to be softening her response to the COVID-19 pandemic as her race for re-election next year intensifies.
Whitmer rose to national prominence last year as she implemented some of the country’s toughest COVID-19 restrictions at the start of the pandemic. For a while, she was considered Joe Biden’s running mate during his 2020 campaign.
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But his approval rating in the state has dropped since last year. In September 2020, a Glengariff Group poll found that 59% of voters approve of Whitmer’s professional performance. That number fell to 50% in May and again this month to 48%. Polls show that most of the drop comes from independent voters, who typically decide Michigan’s election.
Other polls in the state show an increasingly close race between Whitmer and Republican opponent James Craig.
This week, Whitmer and the Legislature agreed to a budget proposal ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline that includes a provision prohibiting local health officials from implementing school mask mandates, leaving those decisions to the councils. local schools. The budget would also ban state public agencies from requiring vaccinations for their employees.
Whitmer said the proposal was still under review by her staff and she could veto the provision.
However, Whitmer also failed to re-implement a statewide mask warrant despite an increase in COVID cases in Michigan.
Republican strategist Jason Roe told the Washington Examiner that Whitmer “has drastic policies in place when she doesn’t show up.”
“Now that she’s running for re-election, she’s going to defer to the locals,” Roe said.
Roe added that while the COVID restrictions are just one issue that Michigan voters face, if Whitmer continues to lose ground with the independents it could be “deadly” for his reelection bid.
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In a statement this week touting the budget deal, Whitmer said she was “delighted that the legislature and I can come together to agree on a bipartisan budget.”
“Our collaboration is a testament to what is possible when we work together and put our families, communities and small businesses first,” said Whitmer.
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Key words: News, Elections 2022, Gretchen Whitmer, Democrats, Face masks
Original author: Kate Scanlon
Original location: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Cancels Strict COVID Protocols As Reelection Race Tightens