Michigan’s Democrat governor has drawn her first challenger of the 2022 election cycle, and that candidate is already raising eyebrows.
“From a seemingly homemade podium on his virtual stage, 35-year-old Austin Chenge is amassing thousands of social media followers as the first Republican candidate to enter the 2022 race for Michigan governor,” FOX17 reported.
Chenge is challenging embattled Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who has had a tumultuous year in office after imposing some of the nation’s strictest COVID-19 lockdown measures.
The young challenger, a U.S. Army veteran from Grand Rapids, is happy to call Whitmer a “dictator” for those measures.
“I don’t have anything against the governor personally, but her actions and the things she has done speak for themselves,” he told FOX17. “She doesn’t work with our legislature, and that is a classic characteristic of a dictator. So, if she’s already acting like one, that’s exactly what she is.”
Chenge, a Black man, has also promised to end Black History Month in the state of Michigan.
“I’ll cancel Black History Month in Michigan: It’s offensive, unfair, maybe illegal… Americans from all backgrounds deserve a revered history,” he said on his Facebook page. “I’ll declare American history month.”
In his interview with FOX17, Chenge elaborated, saying that he believes that in order to move forward, Americans must “forge a single American identity that we can all identify with first.”
Chenge is an immigrant from Nigeria, but considers himself to be an American above all.
“We’re all Americans. That’s the first thing that unites us. Nothing else unites us more than the American identity, and that’s what we need to hold on to,” he reportedly said. “Holding on to our various groups, it’s tribalism, and that’s going to tear this country apart. This country is made up of so many different people. If everyone held on to their own little background, then we have no American identity.”
Meanwhile, his incumbent opponent is fighting the state legislature over a COVID-19 recovery plan.
Republican legislators passed a bill Wednesday that, in addition to providing financial relief for those struggling with the fallout from Whitmer’s lockdowns, would strip the governor of her power to shut down schools. She would also be forced to relinquish her power over local health departments.
Whitmer has drawn the ire of conservatives over the past year.
Just last week, she lifted a ban on contact sports after a non-profit, along with high school athletes and their parents, sued her with the goal of resuming competition.
Perhaps the biggest headline from her COVID-19 restrictions was her executive order banning private gatherings, which barred Michiganders from visiting each other’s homes. That executive order was eventually struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court as unconstitutional.
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