Whitmer's Running Mate Pledges To Shut Down 'More Coal Plants'

Michigan lieutenant governor Garlin Gilchrist
Michigan lieutenant governor Garlin Gilchrist / Getty Images
November 6, 2022

Michigan lieutenant governor Garlin Gilchrist (D.), who is up for reelection with Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday, promised supporters at a rally in Ann Arbor he would shut down more coal plants in his second term.

"We're gonna strengthen our state's response to the climate crisis," Gilchrist said Saturday evening. "We're gonna close more coal plants."

Gilchrist's remarks came just after the White House walked back President Joe Biden's comments at a Friday rally in Pennsylvania in which he promised that his administration will be "shutting these [coal] plants down all across America" and replacing them with renewables.

Biden's speech prompted backlash from lawmakers including West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin, who called it "outrageous and divorced from reality." White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement on Saturday saying Biden's comments about coal "have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended."

Federal data show Michigan is heavily reliant on coal for anything from manufacturing to keeping the lights on. In 2021, coal provided nearly a third of all the state's electricity, the largest share of all energy sources.

The Washington Free Beacon previously reported that Michigan voters named energy costs a top concern ahead of Tuesday's Election Day. Recent polling shows the Michigan governor and lieutenant governor race tightening, with RealClearPolitics ranking the contest a "toss up."