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Michigan governor to take national stage to rebut Trump

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will rebut President Donald Trump's State of the Union message on Tuesday.
Credit: AP Photo/Al Goldis, File
FILE - Ion this Feb. 12, 2019 file photo, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis, File)

LANSING, Mich. — Democrats are putting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on the national stage Tuesday to rebut President Donald Trump's State of the Union message. 

By elevating a fresh face and casting an election-year spotlight on the Midwest, the party looks to win back states Trump narrowly captured. 

Trump won in Michigan by a 0.3% margin in 2016. That was the first time the state voted Republican for president since 1992.

Whitmer won the state's governor race against GOP opponent Bill Schuette by a 9.6% margin in 2018. 

The 48-year-old's ascendance comes as Democrats hope to solidify gains with female voters and as two men in their late 70s, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, lead national primary polls. 

Whitmer's selection has led to increased speculation that she could be a running mate pick, though she has said she is not interested.

The selection also comes shortly after Trump visited an auto supplier in Warren, Mich., where he celebrated the new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada one day after signing it into law.

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During his remarks at the plant, the president highlighted his victory in Macomb County in the 2016 election, where he won with an 11.5% margin. 

In the same county, Whitmer got 50.4% of the votes, defeating Schuette with a 3.5% margin.