Republican memo blames Tudor Dixon for party's losses in governor's race, Michigan legislature

An internal memo from the Republican Party reviewing why its candidates lost on election day put the blame primarily on its candidate for governor Tudor Dixon.

The report - which Dixon herself shared on Twitter - assessed that Dixon's low name recognition, as well as a lack of campaign finances and structure was a "nearly impossible" hurdle to overcome. Especially since the Democratic incumbent she ran against had all three.

The report was authored by the party chief of staff Paul Cordes on Nov. 10 and argued that abortion being on the ballot and anti-GOP ads setting the tone of the issue early was too difficult of an obstacle to overcome. Other sections mentioned "donors on the sidelines," and "the Trump effect" as being contributing factors.

"I'm sure the pundits and politicos will assign their blame in the coming weeks, but it is clear that independent voters were turned off by the top of the ticket in Michigan and it trickled down statewide," the report read at the end.

Political campaigns often perform "post-ops" of elections to figure out what went right and what went wrong. Rarely do those reviews become public knowledge so soon after an election, however.

Dixon shared the memo before blasting the party leadership for not taking ownership of Republican's losses during the 2022 Midterms this week.

 "This is the perfect example of what is wrong with the @MIGOP. It’s an issue of leadership - Ron Weiser, Meshawn Maddock, and Paul Cordes all refuse to take ownership for their own failures," she wrote on Twitter. "It’s easy to come out and point fingers now, but the truth is they fought against me every step of the way and put the entire ticket at risk. We need fresh leadership at the @MIGOP or Republicans will never have a voice in Michigan again."

Our state party failed on Let MI Kids Learn and Secure MI Vote. Because of their failure, we now have Prop 2. We have to do better than this current incompetent leadership," she added.

Republicans were swept in statewide races as candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump lost be wide margins in elections for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. But as the memo states, independent voters that were turned off by the top of the ticket also didn't vote for state House and Senate candidates. 

Democrats as a result have secured majorities in both chambers for the first time in 38 years. 

The memo said that had Dixon kept the race to within 3-4% against Gretchen Whitmer, then both majorities in the legislature would have been safe. If she lost by 7-8%, they would be in danger. Instead, she lost by 11 points. 

"Michigan is historically a ticket splitting state, and our data, modeling, mail and field program were very effective. However, the hole created by Tudor at the top of the ticket was too much to overcome."

Trump factor

Former President Donald Trump's endorsements in the primary races has been a frequently-discussed element of the races and many were unsure how candidates with his blessing would fair in statewide races. 

The tension between traditional Republican voters and those more aligned with Trump's base hovered over both the primary and general election. According to the memo, the party "operated within the political reality that President Trump was popular amongst our grassroots and a motivating factor for his supporters, but provided challenges on a statewide ballot, especially with independents and women in a midterm election."

Because of that, the party said it cost them greatly when it went looking for donations. "The power struggles ended with too many people on the sidelines and hurt Republicans in key races."

While control of both the U.S. House and Senate remains in question, Republicans often touted in the final days of the midterm races that a "red wave" would roll over the U.S. It failed to materialize with Trump-endorsed candidates losing in key races in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Hampshire.