Watch CBS News

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says not to assume "about what the next election is going to bring"

Full interview: Gretchen Whitmer on "Face the Nation"
Full interview: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on "Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan" 25:08

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who won reelection by double digits in 2022 and has become a leading voice among Democrats, said she's not taking the strong showing for her party "for granted" heading into the next election. 

"It's always going to be close in this state," Whitmer told "Face the Nation." "You cannot make any assumptions about what the next election is going to bring, based on the last one in a state like this. You got to show up. You got to do the work and show people that you really care about them."

Despite Democratic wins in Michigan in 2022, Whitmer urged that the state is "absolutely" still a purple state, while pointing to the work that Democrats must continue to do in the state — and beyond.

"What I hear from people is a sense of urgency, a sense of how serious this moment is in this country," she said, adding that Democrats need to "continue to show up and continue to talk about these fundamental issues that Americans and American families need solved."


Whitmer said she's not "freaking out" over polls that show that Mr. Biden is underperforming with the Democratic base. But she also made clear that the party should continue to center reproductive rights as November's election approaches. 

"The right for a woman to make her own decisions and reproductive freedom is a motivator," she said, adding that although about nine states are set to vote on the issue through ballot measures in 2024, "abortion is on the ballot in all 50 states."

Michigan voters approved a ballot measure in the 2022 midterm elections to enshrine abortion rights in the state's constitution amid a slew of protections enacted in states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. But Whitmer argued that without Mr. Biden in the White House, Americans are "at risk of losing" those protections.

"I think if a Donald Trump is president, or any of the people on the Republican side right now, unfortunately is, they are going to promote an abortion ban for all of us," Whitmer, adding that Mr. Biden "being in the White House keeps a national ban from happening."

But Whitmer, a co-chair for Mr. Biden's re-election bid, suggested that his administration could lean into the issue with more frequency and with more "blunt" language. Asked whether Mr. Biden should be talking about abortion more, Whitmer said it would be "good if he did."

"I don't think it would hurt," Whitmer said. "I think people want to know that this is a president that is fighting."

Still, Whitmer explained that the president's position on the issue is clear, saying she's confident that when Americans weigh their options accordingly in 2024 — and understand the "stakes" of the election — that position will likely be a motivator for them to come out and vote.

Whitmer also said Democrats should campaign more on issues like expanding access to affordable childcare, saying that they have to "empower American women to make their own choices, but support American families to be successful."

She said Democrats need to be "very clear" with the American public about "how high the stakes are and what our priorities are" heading into the election, saying "there's always more work to do on that front."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.