LANSING, Mich. — There is a tendency for people to define Gretchen Whitmer by who she is not.
Ms. Whitmer was not one of the surprising, insurgent Democratic nominees for governor this cycle, as her campaign for Michigan’s governorship was flush with money and key endorsements from the outset. She did not have the up-from-nothing background story of some other Democratic candidates; after all, a building in downtown Detroit is named for her father, the former chief executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield. She was not Abdul El-Sayed, the fiery leftist whose campaign for governor captured national attention, but who lost badly to Ms. Whitmer in the primary.
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