Will Michigan candidates accept the results of the 2022 election? Here's what they said

Posted at 11:24 AM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 11:52:38-04

(WXYZ) — The 2022 election is just a few weeks away, and after what happened in 2020, we went to the candidates to ask if they would accept the results of this year’s vote.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing off against Republican Tudor Dixon, Attorney General Dana Nessel is taking on Republican Matt DePerno, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is facing Kristina Karamo for the state's three highest offices.

On top of that, all of Michigan's congressional seats are up for election in new districts, with some incumbents not winning their primary or deciding to retire.

In 2020, many candidates throughout the state, as well as then-President Donald Trump, refused to accept the results of the election and made baseless claims that the election was stolen. Will that happen again in 2022? It depends on the candidate.

In a statement, Whitmer said that she is "committed to protecting voter rights and ensuring the will of the people is respected in Michigan by accepting the results of this election."

Whitmer pointed to the record turnout across Michigan and called 2020 the most "secure election in state history, administered by Republican, Democratic, and non-partisan clerks across Michigan."

That wasn't the same for Dixon, who wouldn't commit to accepting the results through a spokesperson.

Sara Broadwater, the communications director for Dixon's campaign, said in part "there's no reason to believe they (Whitmer and Benson) are serious about secure elections."

Broadwater also said, "if they (Whitmer and Benson) follow the letter of the law as is this time, I believe we can have a reasonable amount of faith in the process."

Both Nessel and Benson said they would accept the results of the election

"We unequivocally support the will of eligible Michigan voters and, as Attorney General, Dana Nessel will do everything in her power to ensure that voters are safe and their voices are heard on Election Day," a Nessel campaign spokesperson said.

"She will always stand by and respect the will of the voters, regardless of the outcome of any election, and expects every candidate, and elected official to do the same," Liz Boyd said in a statement on behalf of Benson.

Multiple emails to both DePerno and Karamo's campaigns were not returned.

But, Karamo has frequently criticized the 2020 election. She is reportedly part of the "America First" coalition of secretary of state candidates who believe the election was stolen, and according to Politico, want to roll back access to mail-in voting.

DePerno reportedly worked to get access to voting tabulator machines in Michigan after the 2020 election, which has been reported extensively by The Detroit News, and a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate whether DePerno and others should be charged for their attempts to gain access to the voting machines.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is taking on Republican Tom Barrett in the election for the 7th district, said accepting the election was "non-negotiable," and that "anyone running for elected office must make clear that they’ll accept the results of the election—full stop. Saying anything else is harmful to our country, our politics, and our very democracy."

An email to Barrett's campaign last week was not returned, but according to an article in the Detroit Free Press published Tuesday morning, Barrett isn't sure whether the 2020 election was fair.

“It's an unknowable thing. How many people mailed in absentee ballots that were ineligible to participate in the election?" he said to the Free Press. "We can't know for sure what effect that had. That's why we have to stop it before it happens."

The Free Press also notes he has wanted election reform, including a voter ID law that Whitmer vetoed.

Other candidates who said they would accept the result of the election include Rep. Debbie Dingell, who is running in the sixth congressional district, and Rep. Haley Stevens, who is running in the 11th district.