Biden replacement? Whitmer denies ‘Draft Gretch’ campaign, but her star is rising

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As calls for President Biden to drop out of the 2024 presidential race increase in the wake of last week’s presidential debate, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer may be a top pick to replace him on the ticket, despite denying involvement in a “Draft Gretch” shadow campaign. But her chances against former President Donald Trump in November would be an uphill battle, according to one expert.

“She’s doing the right thing in terms of denying that she’s interested because she can’t appear to be disloyal,” said Tevi Troy, a former White House aide and deputy secretary of Health and Human Services under the Bush administration, in an interview with Fox News Digital.

“I had a politician friend of mine describe this to me as the Cinderella at the ball scenario. Everyone knows that the clock is running out and that at midnight everything changes, but at the same time, the prince is handsome, and the champagne is flowing, so you’re enjoying the dancing. But the smart people are kind of eyeing the door and making sure they’re positioned at the door while they’re dancing around midnight.”


Whitmer, who won re-election in 2022 by a double-digit margin, has previously hinted at interest in a presidential run and has reportedly vaulted to the top of the list in terms of donor preference in recent weeks.

Online supporters have been pushing a “Draft Gretch” message, and Politico reported after the debate that Whitmer spoke with Democratic Party leadership and disavowed that movement while disagreeing with reports that said she warned Biden has no chance of winning Michigan, calling it “total bulls—.”

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


Her weakness, however, is that Whitmer is not particularly well-known among the average American as someone of prominence.

“She’s a popular governor in a swing state,” said Troy, who is also a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “So, she’s got a lot of positive qualities, but at the same time, she’s not truly vetted, and most of these people who could potentially face Trump or replace Biden are not fully vetted.”

Whitmer drew attention for her “heavy-handed” restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic in her state, and she has also signed pro-LGBTQ+ legislation through implementing the state’s first LGBTQ+ Commission last year. She also repealed several of the state’s abortion restrictions, enshrining the right to the procedure in the state’s constitution.

“I think the biggest weakness is not any of the weaknesses we know but what we don’t know,” Troy said. 

That could change after the release of Whitmer’s book, “True Gretch,” next week.


Biden’s lackluster debate performance has also put the spotlight on Vice President Harris, who has started to show off a more visible campaign role as November approaches.

Harris suddenly figures to play a defining role in the campaign, a turnaround for a vice president who many critics have panned as a potential liability for Democrats in November.

Fox News Digital’s Andrew Mark Miller and Michael Lee contributed to this report.