On Wednesday, Nov. 16, Detroit Regional Chamber members gathered at the Townsend Hotel to network and hear Paul Cordes, Chief of Staff of the Michigan Republican Party, and Amanda Stitt, Chief Strategist for Gretchen Whitmer for Governor, break down the results of the 2022 election.
Moderator Zack Gorchow, Executive Editor and Publisher of Gongwer News Service Michigan, opened the discussion by asking why each thought the election turned out in Democrats’ favor. Stitt offered that it was a combination of solidifying defined narratives early on and rebuilding post-pandemic campaign operations with new tools, technology, and tactics that led to their success. Cordes said that Republicans, “didn’t have enough steam at the top of the ticket to get everyone across the finish line,” continuing that many regular funders were reluctant to give to Dixon’s campaign.
The Dobbs decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in June had an undeniable effect on the 2022 midterm election, because “when you take away rights, there’s going to be backlash,” according to Stitt. Cordes agreed, saying there was a noticeable change in energy on the opposing side after the decision and that Republicans “lost all control of the narrative after Dobbs.” Democrats leveraged an early fundraising lead by channeling their dollars into a frequently aired ad that highlighted the “no-exceptions” stance on abortion, which galvanized voters even further.
Commenting on Whitmer’s unprecedented fundraising success, Stitt offered that “campaigns are the politics of addition,” so they brought lots of people into the campaign to expand their donor base, including Republicans for Whitmer. She also noted that there wasn’t a big senate race in Michigan this year to compete with for donations. The passing of Prop 2 in 2018 also worked in Democrats’ favor by unrigging gerrymandered maps.
Cordes closed by predicting that it’s not “all doom and gloom” moving forward, saying he thinks Republicans are well-positioned to retake the state house in 2024.