Gretchen Whitmer, the former Democratic leader in Michigan’s state Senate, won the her party’s gubernatorial primary, according to the Associated Press. She beat Abdul El-Sayed, the former director of Detroit’s health department, and Shri Thanedar, a wealthy chemical testing executive.
Both challengers described themselves as “progressives,” though Thanedar had given donations to both parties and had reportedly considered running as a Republican. El-Sayed, a doctor and Rhodes scholar, earned endorsements from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), with an agenda that resembled the Vermont senator’s — universal health care, a $15 minimum wage and no “corporate” donations. Whitmer also endorsed a $15 minimum wage, but focused her campaign on “fixing the damn roads,” a memorable promise to repair the state’s infrastructure.
Thanedar, who spent more than $11 million of his own money on the race, surged in public polls as El-Sayed struggled to raise money and Whitmer replaced her campaign manager. But in the race’s final month — especially after Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in New York — the race was seen as a battle between the “establishment”-backed Whitmer and the more left-wing El-Sayed.
She’ll face state Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) in November. The winner will replace term-limited Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican.