Vice President Kamala Harris campaigned for Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this weekend in what’s being considered a potential preview for a 2024 or 2028 presidential run.
Harris attended several events in Detroit to campaign on behalf of Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, highlighting federal legislation like the CHIPS Act, which aims to bring more manufacturing jobs to the Motor City and the country at whole, FOX 2 Detroit reported.
The gubernatorial race in Michigan is now being considered a “toss-up” between Whitmer and Republican candidate Tudor Dixon, according to polling outlet RealClearPolitics, which shows the Democrat ahead in the race by 5.7 percentage points.
Whitmer is seeking re-election in the swing state that helped former President Trump secure the 2016 election. She drew national attention through Trump’s repeated attacks on the Democrat’s COVID-19 lockdown measures.
Weeks before the 2020 presidential election between Trump and now President Biden, authorities announced charges in an alleged kidnapping plot targeting Whitmer, but federal prosecutors mired by allegations of FBI entrapment failed to win convictions the first time. Two men were convicted during August’s re-trial.
Though allies now ahead of the midterm election cycle, Harris and Whitmer’s exchanges could bear interest later should they run against each other as Democratic presidential primary candidates ahead of 2024 or 2028, according to The Los Angeles Times. It depends on whether Biden seeks re-election.
At one fundraising event this weekend, Harris praised Whitmer as an “extraordinary leader” who is “always about real talk” and had kept her campaign promise to “fix the damn roads.”
Harris’ interactions with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are of similar interest. Both the vice president and Buttigieg ran as 2020 presidential primary candidates. Considered a key swing state, Buttigieg moved his official residency from Indiana to Michigan this summer, the Times noted.
Meanwhile, it’s unclear if Whitmer has her eyes on higher office in the future – whether it be the presidency or a Senate seat or a cabinet nomination. In an interview with the Detroit News on Tuesday, Whitmer vowed to complete her full second term if re-elected, fluffing off speculation that she planned for the contrary as “baloney.”
In June, Whitmer dodged answering in an NBC News interview whether she felt Biden should run for reelection, instead calling interest in her own candidacy “flattering.”
President Biden’s second in command participated in a Michigan Democratic Party Finance Event with Whitmer and Gilchrist, FOX 2 reported. Highlighting Michigan’s importance in the upcoming midterm elections, Harris visited FOCUS: HOPE in Detroit, which helps provide education and training for minorities, and traveled to Southfield for a voter education event. The vice president praised those “advocating to change the climate crisis, to end gun violence, to protect reproductive rights,” saying, “our nation needs you.”