In a governor’s race that carries high stakes for abortion rights, schools and the future of elections in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, and Tudor Dixon, a Republican, are expected to face off in their first debate on Thursday.
It is the first governor’s race in the state in which both contenders are women.
Ms. Whitmer, who has been leading in the polls, has sought to keep the focus on her efforts to bring jobs to Michigan and to paint Ms. Dixon as out of step with voters on abortion. Ms. Dixon, a former conservative commentator backed by former President Donald J. Trump and the politically powerful DeVos family, has leaned hard into attacking transgender women and criticizing Ms. Whitmer for her pandemic-era policies on businesses.
The hourlong debate could provide a crucial opportunity for Ms. Dixon to gain traction before the Nov. 8 election. She has struggled to build out a campaign in the state, where Democrats are sharply outspending Republicans on the television airwaves.
The event, hosted by WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids and moderated by the political reporter Rick Albin, will begin at 7 p.m. Eastern time, and be broadcast online and across TV stations in Michigan, as well as streamed live on woodtv.com, Bridgemi.com and Freep.com.
Their next debate will be Oct. 25.