Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon stands next to former President Donald Trump. (Source: Tudor Dixon Facebook)
Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon stands next to former President Donald Trump. (Source: Tudor Dixon Facebook)

MICHIGAN—Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon bills herself as a “political outsider” who will make the state more friendly to families and business. But in many ways, her priorities may threaten to make Michigan less welcoming—particularly to women and LGBTQ people.

Before announcing her run for governor, Dixon was a news anchor on the network “Real America’s Voice.” Steve Bannon, the founder of far-right news outlet Breitbart and whose show “War Room” is hosted by the network, described Real America’s Voice as “five times more powerful” than Breitbart. Bannon previously helped to promote conspiracy theories that alleged fraud in the 2020 election, and is currently on trial for defying a subpoena by the January 6 Committee.

On the campaign trail, Dixon’s views have often been just as extreme as those promoted by Bannon and Real America’s Voice. She frequently aligns herself with far right politicians, and has repeatedly promoted misinformation and spread bigoted stereotypes about minority groups.

Here are Dixon’s views on key issues, in her own words:

Forced Birth

A recent interview with journalist Charlie LeDuff showed that Dixon disagrees with most Michiganders on the topic of abortion access — including her argument that children who are raped by family members should be forced to give birth to the child. She labeled that horrific hypothetical as a “perfect example” of why she supports a restrictive ban on abortions.

“A life is a life for me. That’s how it is,” Dixon added, clarifying that she thinks there should be no allowable abortions in Michigan except in instances necessary to protect the life of the mother.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and released this month by Progress Michigan showed that nearly 60% of respondents support efforts to protection abortion access in Michigan, and are “very motivated” to vote this year in response to their frustrations with the Supreme Court. 

Even among conservative Republican voters, about 68% also said they support allowing abortion when a woman is raped or impregnated by a family member, and 75% reportedly support exceptions in the case of a pregnant minor, more recent Detroit News polls show.

Additional questions to Dixon’s campaign that sought to add some additional clarity over whether or not she believes in allowing exceptions for rape or incest were not returned. 

Abortion Conspiracies 

Dixon has also said that she thinks that Planned Parenthood has conflicting interests in promoting comprehensive sex education because the group wants more people to have abortions. She thinks the organization bases its “business model” on teaching middle school girls about the reproductive system as part of a broad scheme to make more cash on abortions.

“I’ve always said that Planned Parenthood doesn’t belong in our schools, and I don’t like the idea of having an outside influence like that. … And I mean, their money is made in abortions,” Dixon said on Michigan’s Big Show in May. “And I’ve always said that I want our children to be protected in our schools and that sex education should not be dictated by Planned Parenthood.”

If Planned Parenthood actually wanted to increase the number of teen pregnancies in Michigan, it would probably be pushing for abstinence-only education rather than its current focus on comprehensive sex education. Several studies have indicated that teaching comprehensive sex education leads to an overall reduction in teen pregnancy compared to abstinence-only models.

Also: The majority of Planned Parenthood’s revenue comes from government grants and private donors—not from abortions or health care services, according to its latest financial reports.

Voter Misinformation

Additionally, Dixon recently voiced her opposition to an overwhelmingly popular ballot initiative that would formally enshrine “reproductive freedom”—defined as “the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy”— into the Michigan Constitution.

She contended the Michigan Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative would allow for “abortion on demand” — including allowing for late-term abortions that involve dismemberment and “removing any protections that we have right now on abortion”—like needing parental consent. 

The ballot initiative, however, does not necessarily allow for abortions in any and all circumstance. It allows the state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, as did Roe v. Wade.

“It’s very important that people understand exactly what they’re trying to do, and the majority of the country is actually against what they’re trying to do,” Dixon told Ron Jolly early this month.

Organizers turned in the petition with a record-breaking 753,759 signatures—well more than what’s needed to qualify for the November ballot. Voters will decide the popularity at the polls.

Future Threats

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have both made clear that they will not enforce a 1931 law that restricts abortion access in Michigan—regardless of what happens in an ongoing court battle that has temporarily held the state’s restrictive abortion ban at bay. 

Dixon sees things differently.

“That is the law,” Dixon said during an interview on The Ron Jolly on July 11.  “And unlike the current governor and attorney general, I will enforce the law. I will abide by the law.”

War on Drag 

Asked on a recent radio show whether she would criminalize taking kids to drag performances, Dixon called for Michiganders to fight back in an active “battle” against children and families.

“Of course, these are sexualized shows,” Dixon explained during a West Michigan Live interview that aired early last month. “We have folks that are really working hard to oversexualize our children. This is what we’re fighting against right now. It is the battle against family.”

Dixon also claimed, without evidence, that children as young as kindergarteners are dealing with anxiety and confusion caused by teachers pushing them to question their gender identities.

“Children are not prepared for strong messages, about having their teacher come to them and say, well, we want to question your gender in kindergarten or first grade,” she told West Michigan Live. “Maybe you’re not actually a boy or a girl. It’s very confusing. These are the types of things that leave kids in a very confused, anxious state. We’re protecting against that.” 

Promoting Bigotry

In addition to working with state lawmakers to introduce a ban on non-existent drag performances in public schools, Dixon also went on to promote dangerous transphobic stereotypes—saying that allowing trans girls into girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms puts cisgender girls at risk—despite no evidence of trans people threatening anyone in these places. 

“Are you really saying that we should have boys in the girls bathroom, boys in the girls locker room?” she said. “Because we’re looking at the swimming event right now and we have a biological male changing in the girls locker room with our females. No mother or father, I would assume. Just you feel the same. You do not want a male in the locker room with your daughter.”

Data shows Dixon is flat-out incorrect. Trans people who try to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity are often at higher risk of experiencing harassment as a result. A 2013 study found that 68% of trans and gender-nonconforming people had experienced verbal harassment in gendered bathrooms, with 9% of respondents having been physically assaulted.

The Big Lie 

Dixon has claimed that Facebook—namely Mark Zuckerberg—has funded efforts to alter the results of the 2020 election, somehow rigging them against former President Donald Trump.

It’s true that Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $350 million to Center for Tech and Civic Life, which then distributed grants to more than 2,500 jurisdictions to help pay for election administration in 2020. But that funding was used to help cash-strapped election departments with election workers, and to cover postage and printing for absentee ballots. 

The extra resources allowed election officials to speed up processing for mail-in ballots—but there’s no evidence that it played any role in producing fraudulent results. One county in Pennsylvania, for example, was able to process 150,000 mail-in ballots in 36 hours. Without the new equipment and personnel, the process would’ve likely taken a week or even longer.

Sugarcoating Insurrectionism

In a January radio interview with WILS Morning Wake-Up, Dixon refused to label the deadly attacks at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 as an “insurrection” — also insisting that violence came from “both sides” rather than just from violent supporters of the former president. 

“I don’t believe that we had an insurrection because nobody has been charged with insurrection. You cannot say that it is an insurrection if you are not charging anyone under the insurrection act,” she said, failing to mention that nearly 1,000 people have now been charged in the attack.

When she worked at “Real America’s Voice,” Dixon repeatedly cast doubt on the events of the insurrection. At one point, she implied that violence came from “both sides,” rather than just pro-Trump insurrectionists despite no available evidence that fits her narrative of the event.

More recently, Dixon has also commented on social media about the arrest of one of her primary opponents—Ryan Kelley—on criminal charges related to his involvement in the riots. There, Dixon defended Kelley, calling his arrest a partisan tactic to silence his campaign.

“The timing of this looks a lot like another example of political prosecution by a Democrat Party notorious for weaponizing government,” Dixon tweeted.

All Lives Matter

Dixon has made “backing the blue” a key cornerstone of her campaign and has said that implicit bias training, meant to counteract racism among police officers, is actually racist in and of itself.

On her campaign website, she writes: “Stop perpetuating the false and racist myths that law enforcement officers are inherently racist and predisposed to violence against minorities.” Dixon has also said that officers in Michigan are under constant fear of being targeted and attacked.

While police may have a higher risk of fatality compared to other workers, the chances of dying in violent conflict are still low. Out of 633 “Line of Duty Deaths” in 2021, only 62 were killed by gunfire—with an overwhelming 454 deaths coming from complications as a result of COVID-19.

‘Harden Our Schools

Shortly following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Dixon was quick to say that police needed more support—even though officers there had failed to act as the shooting took place.

“After something like this happens, you think about it more and more,” she said in an interview on Michigan’s Big Show. “There was a plan from the State Police in 2018 to harden our schools. We have to get back into that plan and say, look, this is our state police saying this is the best way to protect our children. That’s what they do for a living. They protect people.”

Studies have shown that ‘hardening’ schools—which includes hiring armed guards—ultimately does little to deter school shootings. In fact, armed guards may actually increase injury rates.