Lansing — The DeVos family, a powerful force within Michigan Republican politics, is endorsing businesswoman and conservative commentator Tudor Dixon to be the state’s next governor.
Dick DeVos announced the endorsement on the “The Paul W. Smith Show,” saying Michigan had experienced “failed leadership” under Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
In an interview with The Detroit News, he added that Dixon of Norton Shores paired together a “compelling personality” and a “compelling plan” for the state’s future. She’s “absolutely” the best GOP candidate to take on Whitmer in November, Dick Devos contended.
“Our family intends to provide support for her financially,” he said.
Monday’s endorsement could be Dixon’s most important and high profile yet. So far, she has raised less campaign money than other top candidates in the GOP primary race, such as self-funding businessmen Perry Johnson of Bloomfield Hills and Kevin Rinke of Bloomfield Township. And she has been behind other contenders, like former Detroit police Chief James Craig, in early polling.
But Dick DeVos said his family wanted to lead polls instead of being victims of them.
“There is a long way to go,” the businessman said.
He described the endorsement Monday as coming from the entire DeVos family. The family was Michigan’s top political donor in the 2018 gubernatorial election cycle. DeVos family members gave more than $11 million in campaign contributions over 2017 and 2018, according to the nonprofit Michigan Campaign Finance Network, which tracks money in state politics.
Dixon, 45, is making her first run for political office in 2022. Her professional background is primarily in the steel industry. She’s also a breast cancer survivor and a former news host.
“We think Tudor, as a business leader, as a mom, has the experience, the passion and a plan to put the state back on track,” Dick DeVos said on the radio show Monday.
Dixon has previously been endorsed by state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake and U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga of Zeeland and Lisa McClain of Bruce Township.
In a statement, Dixon said she was honored to have the DeVos family’s support.
“Our message is straightforward,” Dixon said. “We want Michigan to be the best state in the country to live in, work, run a business, raise a family and retire.
“Michigan’s families deserve good schools, good jobs, safe neighborhoods, reliable infrastructure and a responsive government that serves their interests.”
Dixon has been pursuing former President Donald Trump’s support in the gubernatorial primary race. During a debate in Livingston County on May 12, Dixon said she believed Trump had won the 2020 election against Democrat Joe Biden despite Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in Michigan.
While unproven claims of fraud linger, Biden’s win has been upheld by a series of court rulings, more than 200 audits and a report by the GOP-controlled state Senate Oversight Committee.
People across the state have different views on the 2020 election, Dick DeVos said when asked about Dixon’s statement.
“We’re not here to litigate that,” he added. “We’re focused on the next election.”
Dick DeVos, who ran for governor himself unsuccessfully in 2006, has worked in a variety of executive positions at Amway, the NBA’s Orlando Magic and The Windquest Group, according to Amway. His wife, Betsy DeVos, served as U.S. education secretary under Trump.
Ten Republicans are currently pursuing their party’s nomination at the Aug. 2 primary to take on Whitmer in November. Democrats have challenged the petition signatures of three of the top GOP candidates: Craig, Dixon and Johnson.
Candidates for governor need 15,000 valid signatures to make the primary ballot. The Michigan Bureau of Elections is expected to release its initial findings on the candidates’ signatures later Monday. The Board of State Canvassers will consider the signatures on Thursday.
Dick DeVos said he was confident Dixon would make the ballot.