Politics Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer backs off strict COVID protocols as race for reelection tightens
Michigan leaders announce budget deal with few details
The GOP-led Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer struck a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown before the next fiscal year. © Provided by Washington Examiner Budget officials welcomed the deal. “The last year and a half has been hard on all of our families and communities. Addressing their needs – from jobs to education to government accountability – is at the center of today’s budget deal,” Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas, R-Midland, said in a statement. “By working together our divided Michigan government has shown what can be accomplished when Michigan families are put first.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appears to be easing her response to the COVID-19 pandemic as her race for reelection next year heats up.
Whitmer rose to national prominence last year as she implemented some of the country’s most stringent COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic. For a time, she was considered as a running mate for Joe Biden during his 2020 campaign.
But herin the state has plummeted since last year. In September 2020, a poll by the Glengariff Group found 59% of voters approve of Whitmer’s job performance. That number dropped to 50% in May and to 48%. The polling shows that dip comes primarily from independent voters, who typically decide Michigan’s elections.
US deaths in September outpacing previous months; U.N. General Assembly relying on vaccine honor system ahead of meeting: COVID-19 updates
The United States is on track to exceed the total number of COVID deaths in July and August combined within a matter of days. Live updates.Through Saturday, the country reported 32,526 deaths in September, compared to 27,612 in all of August. With deaths averaging nearly 2,000 per day, the U.S. is on track to exceed the total deaths of July and August combined within a matter of days, a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows.
Other polls in the state show an increasinglybetween Whitmer and Republican opponent James Craig.
This week, Whitmer and the Legislature agreed to a budget proposal ahead of their Oct. 1 deadline that includes a provision prohibiting local health officials from implementing school mask mandates, leaving those decisions to. The budget would also public agencies in the state from requiring vaccinations for their employees.
Whitmer has indicated the proposal is stillfor specifics by her staff, and she may exercise her line-item veto on the provision.
However, Whitmer has also not re-implemented a statewide mask mandate despite a rise in COVID cases in Michigan.
Judge sets March trial for 5 men in Michigan governor plot
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A judge set a March 8 trial for five men accused of planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker set the new date Monday after defense lawyers seeking more time to prepare asked him to postpone an October trial. Federal prosecutors didn't object last week. The government said the five men were upset over coronavirus restrictions when they conspired to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat, even scouting her second home in northern Michigan. They’ve pleaded not guilty and claim to be victims of entrapment.The five have been in custody for nearly a year.
Republican strategist Jason Roe told the Washington Examiner that Whitmer “put in place draconian policies when she wasn’t running.”
“Now that she’s running for reelection, she’ll defer to the locals,” Roe said.
Roe added that while COVID restrictions are just one issue facing Michigan voters, if Whitmer continues to lose ground with independents, it could be “lethal” for her reelection bid.
In a statement this week touting the budget deal, Whitmer said she was “thrilled that the legislature and I were able to come together to agree on a bipartisan budget.”
“Our collaboration is a testament to what's possible when we work together and put our families, communities, and small businesses first," Whitmer said.
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Michigan GOP Accuses Gretchen Whitmer of 'Grandstanding' After She Vetoes Election Bills .
"She's more interested in grandstanding and pandering rather than strengthening the security of our elections," spokesman Gustavo Portela said. Whitmer has vowed to veto similar bills in the future, disagreeing with the idea of requiring absentee voters to provide photo identification with applications, or driver's license number or other identification numbers to vote.For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.She also blocked a measure that would have expanded the types of buildings that can be polling places to include private conference centers and recreation clubhouses.