LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer may have another reason to keep Michigan open as COVID-19 cases continue to soar and hospitalizations increase.

Whitmer’s recent suggestions to curb the coronavirus contrast with her year-long track record of mandates, and that shift may be connected to a recent poll showing her in a dead heat with former Secretary of State Candace Miller. She’s a potential 2022 challenger, although Miller has said repeatedly she does not plan to run.

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Michigan political analyst Bill Ballenger spoke with The Guardian and said Gov. Whitmer seems to be “scared straight.”

Ballenger also said Whitmer does not want to anger business donors and believes “the tremendous anger out there” is now driving her political decisions.

Earlier this week, Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, approached the COVID-19 surge with different strategies. During an appearance on WDET’s “Detroit Today,” Khaldun did not go into detail about what specific advice she’d given Whitmer, but said that stronger restrictions are a “policy option” that “would be effective” if people followed them.

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In addition, Khaldun also said, “[Michigan] has therapeutics [and] vaccines now.”

Gov. Whitmer has announced suggested restrictions recently, stopping short of issuing new mandates to shut down sectors of the economy. She previously told reporters the surge isn’t tied to her policies, but stems from Michiganders not complying with her orders.

Whitmer touted the use of therapeutics at a press conference on Wednesday, one year after she threatened to go after doctors in the state if they prescribed such treatments.