Whitmer disavows ‘draft Gretch’ movement — and delivers a warning to Biden

Whitmer disavows ‘draft Gretch’ movement — and delivers a warning to Biden

Jonathan Martin writes:

When Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer telephoned a senior official with President Biden’s campaign on Friday night, she wanted to convey a clear message: She hated the way her name was being floated as a replacement for Biden and she wasn’t behind the chatter.

Whitmer’s conversation with the official, campaign chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, was cordial but awkward by its very nature. In the aftermath of the president’s disastrous debate performance last Thursday, no would-be replacement has been the recipient of more wish-casting among despairing Democrats than the second-term Michigan governor.

Whitmer, recognizing as much, disavowed the Draft Gretch chatter. She used the call to reiterate her commitment and willingness to help the president but also voiced her concern about how much more difficult the campaign would be now for Biden, I’m told by a person familiar with the call.

Even more revealing is how word of the call reached me: from someone close to a potential 2028 Whitmer rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. This person said Whitmer had phoned O’Malley Dillon with more of an unambiguous SOS: to relay that Michigan, in the wake of the debate, was no longer winnable for Biden.

In a statement Monday after this column went online, Whitmer said: “I am proud to support Joe Biden as our nominee and I am behind him 100 percent in the fight to defeat Donald Trump. Not only do I believe Joe can win Michigan, I know he can because he’s got the receipts.”

Yet that such political bladework is already taking place from a potential future opponent illustrates how badly her rivals want to wound Whitmer, by portraying her as being disloyal to Biden in his hour of need. Yet it also captures what an extraordinary, and extraordinarily precarious, moment this is for the well-stocked bench of Democratic governors who are eager to succeed Biden. [Continue reading…]

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