The AP Interview: Whitmer has ‘no interest in going to DC’

Nov 16, 2022, 9:07 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 8:09 am
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office, Thursday, Nov....

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Lansing, Mich. Fresh off a commanding reelection victory in one of the nation's premier swing states, the governor said she will remain focused on her post and not growing speculation she could mount a future presidential run, insisting that she's "never had interest in going to D.C." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

              Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Lansing, Mich. Fresh off a commanding reelection victory in one of the nation's premier swing states, the governor said she will remain focused on her post and not growing speculation she could mount a future presidential run, insisting that she's "never had interest in going to D.C." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Lansing, Mich. Fresh off a commanding reelection victory in one of the nation's premier swing states, the governor said she will remain focused on her post and not growing speculation she could mount a future presidential run, insisting that she's "never had interest in going to D.C." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Lansing, Mich. Fresh off a commanding reelection victory in one of the nation's premier swing states, the governor said she will remain focused on her post and not growing speculation she could mount a future presidential run, insisting that she's "never had interest in going to D.C." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is interviewed by The Associated Press in her office, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Lansing, Mich. Fresh off a commanding reelection victory in one of the nation's premier swing states, the governor said she will remain focused on her post and not growing speculation she could mount a future presidential run, insisting that she's "never had interest in going to D.C." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Fresh off a commanding reelection victory in one of the nation’s premier swing states, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she will remain focused on her post and not growing speculation she could mount a future presidential run.

In an interview with The Associated Press just over a week after winning a second term, Whitmer insisted she’s “never had interest in going to D.C.” and said she’ll “be here for four more years.”

Whitmer didn’t explicitly rule out running for president at some point in the future. She’s also planning to travel to Washington in coming weeks to discuss her state’s priorities. But the governor also said of trying to tamp down questions about whether she will mount a 2024 bid, “It’s just a practical decision. I just won reelection. This is the job that I want.”

“My whole focus is on the state of Michigan,” Whitmer said Thursday.

A rising star in her party, the 51-year-old Whitmer has proven she can win tough races in one of the states that’s been among the most decisive in deciding the presidency since 2016. Whitmer has been frequently mentioned as a future White House candidate, especially if President Joe Biden opts not to seek a second term.

The governor said she’d been approached in the past about running for Congress, or other federal offices, but said “anyone who’s familiar with my career” knows that “I’ve never been interested in going to DC. I love state government.”

Biden turns 80 on Sunday and has said he plans to run for reelection, though he has not yet formally announced a bid. Former President Donald Trump kicked off his third campaign for the White House with a speech at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Tuesday.

Michigan has had “an outsized role in national elections and a voice and I think that’s a good thing,” Whitmer said. She didn’t watch Trump’s announcement, and while Biden called her after the election, he simply congratulated her briefly and didn’t touch on other topics, Whitmer said.

“What I have said is, President Biden says he’s going to run again. If he runs again, he’s got my support,” she said. “That’s it.”

Whitmer beat Republican Tudor Dixon, who had been endorsed by Trump, by a comfortable 11 points in last week’s midterm election. Biden only won the state by about 3 percentage points two years ago.

Michigan voters also approved a referendum amending the state constitution to protect abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Democrats won majorities in both chambers of Michigan Legislature, giving the party full control of the body for the first time since 1984. Whitmer said she’d work with state lawmakers to codify same-sex marriage rights statewide, and to fully rescind a 1931 law banning abortion that the midterm referendum sought to invalidate.

“We need to clean old laws off the books,” she said, adding of the 1931 law, “It doesn’t have effect right now. But we don’t want it to ever threaten to come back alive.”

Whitmer called Michigan a safe haven for abortion and said patients have been coming to have the procedure from neighboring red states, including Ohio and Indiana. The governor said her state’s defense of abortion rights could even attract new residents. That’s especially important after Michigan lost a congressional seat this cycle because its population, while growing, did not keep pace with other booming places.

“There are a lot of businesses in states that are anti-choice — that have extreme laws on the books — that have vowed not to continue to invest there. They should move to Michigan,” Whitmer said. “As should every young person who’s graduated from school.”

Four people accused of conspiring to kidnap Whitmer in 2020 — when she became a national face of restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus — pleaded guilty or were convicted by a federal jury. Three others connected to the scheme were convicted in state court in October.

Whitmer said the threat against her was downplayed relative to the arrest last summer of someone near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home and “perhaps gender plays into that.”

The suspect in that case “turned himself in and it was covered as an assassination plot,” she said. “In Michigan, we had over a dozen people, training for months, staking out my cottage, running drills on how to shoot me. And it was covered as a kidnapping plot.”

“It’s striking when you think about how many people were involved, how many months it occurred and all the lengths to which they took to execute their plan, and how big it was treated,” Whitmer said. “Is it ’cause I’m a woman? Is it ’cause I’m a Democrat? I don’t know. But it’s different and it’s not right.”

During the midterm race, Dixon had championed Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election being marred by widespread fraud that did not occur.

Whitmer noted Thursday that Dixon called her to concede after the election, which was “important” and “gracious of her.” But she also said some Republican lawmakers had attended the same kind of rallies protesting the 2020 election results and COVID restrictions that those involved in her kidnapping plot did.

“And yet I’ve still got to get a budget done. I’ve still got to negotiate,” she said. “So there’s no room for my feelings to get involved.”

___

Weissert reported from Washington.

___

Joey Cappelletti is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Sweden extradites to Turkey man convicted of terror links

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish authorities on Saturday arrested and jailed in Istanbul a convicted member of an outlawed militant group who was extradited from Sweden where he had fled, Turkey’s state-run news agency said. The move comes as the NATO member continues to hold up Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the military alliance, pressing […]
1 day ago
Daley Blind of the Netherlands scores his side's second goal during the World Cup round of 16 socce...
Associated Press

Netherlands eliminates US in round of 16 at World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Memphis Depay and Daley Blind scored in the first half and Denzel Dumfries added a late goal as the Netherlands eliminated the United States from the World Cup with a 3-1 victory Saturday that advanced the Dutch to the quarterfinals. Second-half substitute Haji Wright cut the U.S. deficit to 2-1 […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Hess to buy $750 million in carbon credits from Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — U.S.-owned Hess Corporation, a consortium partner in Guyana’s offshore oil sector, has agreed to buy $750 million worth of carbon credits from the South American nation in the next decade as it works to ensure Guyana’s almost intact Amazonian rainforests remain standing for decades to come, officials said Saturday. Guyanese government […]
1 day ago
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers a question while taking part in a panel discussion during a Republi...
Associated Press

Tennessee roads plan mulls toll lanes, electric car fee hike

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is considering allowing express toll lanes on highways and tripling a fee for electric car owners as he targets his first big push after winning reelection — paying for tens of billions of dollars in roadway projects. The Republican is adamant about what he won’t do: Raise […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UK arrests wealthy Russian as police target Putin enablers

LONDON (AP) — British authorities have arrested a wealthy Russian businessman on suspicion of money laundering, amid efforts to disrupt potential criminal activity by oligarchs and others linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The National Crime Agency said more than 50 officers from a specialized unit raided the suspect’s multi-million-pound home in London on Thursday, […]
1 day ago
Voters wait in line to make corrections to their ballots for the midterm elections at City Hall in ...
Associated Press

Non-religious voters wield clout, tilt heavily Democratic

When members of the small Pennsylvania chapter of Secular Democrats of America log on for their monthly meetings, they’re not there for a virtual happy hour. “We don’t sit around at our meetings patting ourselves on the back for not believing in God together,” said David Brown, a founder from the Philadelphia suburb of Ardmore. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
The AP Interview: Whitmer has ‘no interest in going to DC’