Opinion

Whether you love her or not, Whitmer stays top of mind

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Who did City Pulse readers say was the best state/national politician? The second-best local politician? The third-worst state/national politician? 

It’s all the same person: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Love her or not, Whitmer was top of mind for City Pulse readers as she was finishing a successful reelection campaign in which $62 million was spent advocating for her over the airwaves. 

Likewise, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, who had $21 million spent on her behalf in the Lansing area, was named the “Best Local Politician and the “runner up” in the Best State/National Politician. 

State Rep. Sarah Anthony, Lansing’s state Senator-elect, was named the “runner up” in the Best Local Politician category, while U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders was named second place in the Best State/National Politician category. 

Whitmer’s 2022 opponent, Republican Dixon, was first in the “Worst Local Politician” category, followed by Slotkin’s Republican opponent, state Sen. Tom Barrett, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. 

In the Worst State/National Politician category, former President Donald Trump was the runaway winner, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

The results clearly show the governor’s race and the congressional race dominated the 2022 election season in the Lansing area. 

Local TV, streaming services and the internet were packed with advertisements in favor of both Whitmer and Slotkin, while many slammed Dixon and Barrett. 

The spending and fundraising prowess of both Whitmer and Slotkin aside, both are what I would call “quality candidates.” Let me explain what I mean with that term, which I’ve also used to describe Barrett, for that matter. 

For Whitmer, her positives well outweigh her negatives. For starters, she connects with people. She can fire up a crowd while having that unique ability one-on-one of making you feel like you’re the most important person at that moment. 

She argues a position with passion. She listens to advice. She sets bold priorities. She stands up for what she believes in with conviction, but is not too stubborn or prideful to change course when needed. 

Obviously, her COVID-era orders were not popular with everyone, but she did earn a lot of people’s respect for doing what she did in the face of personal danger to herself and her family. 

For Slotkin, her knowledge base on about any subject matter is exemplary. She can’t be fairly called a party stooge, which is why the “Vote 100% with Biden” attack in the campaign didn’t stick. All of her positions are well thought out.  

When it comes to courage, how many politicians would have opened themselves up to a public forum to explain why they supported the impeachment of then-President Donald Trump? Slotkin did it exactly that at Oakland University with class and then didn’t leave until she talked individually with the dozens of media in attendance one-on-one. 

What I like about Anthony is that she gets it. She understands the job of state legislator and does as well as anybody I’ve seen. She’s a passionate advocate when she needs to be. She can work both sides of the aisle when she needs to. She can work a caucus. She can get a bill passed in the minority. That’s hard to do. 

Give Sarah Anthony any job at the Capitol and it’s hard for me to see her doing anything but a great job. 

Personally, I’m not a fan of “worst” labels for people, even politicians. Having closely observed Dixon, Barrett and Shirkey, they all work hard and have the best interests of Michiganders at heart. 

They just happened to be pitted up against the Lansing area’s most popular politicians. 

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