Tudor Dixon will square off against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.
The Trump-endorsed candidate was leading the pack of five GOP gubernatorial candidates early Wednesday with with 331,000 votes or 40 percent, compared to car dealership scion Kevin Rinke, who had about 20 percent of the vote, and chiropractor Garrett Soldano who had about 18 percent of votes.
Dixon, who launched a little-known right-wing media organization after spending much of her career at her family's steel company, was a late leader in a race that generated tepid enthusiasm but contained numerous shocks. Five candidates were knocked off due to fraud in the petition-signature gathering process and candidate Ryan Kelley was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riots. Kelley was trailing in fourth with 16 percent of the vote early Wednesday.
Here's where the top candidates stood in other key primaries around 1 a.m.:
- Rep. Haley Stevens defeated Rep. Andy Levin in the hotly contested 11th Congressional District race after the Israeli lobby spent heavily to back her over Levin, a Jew.
- Rep. Rashida Tlaib cruised to victory in the 12th Congressional District over Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, another beneficiary of Israeli lobby money.
- State Rep. Shri Thanedar was leading State Sen. Adam Hollier with 31 percent of the vote to Hollier's 24 with just 14 percent of precincts reporting.
- Former Trump official John Gibbs was slightly ahead of Peter Meijer in the 3rd Congressional District, on the west side of the state, with 53 percent of the vote to Meijer's 47. About half of precincts were reporting.