The Results Are In: Last Week’s Republican Gubernatorial Debate Didn’t Produce a Standout 

“Nobody broke through in this debate” … “Each of the eight candidates said they were anti-abortion” … “Debate topics did little to separate the GOP candidates’ positions” … “They failed to make waves”

Last week, eight out of the 10 Republicans running for governor faced off in Livingston County for the first debate of the cycle. Notably, chief “neophyte” James Craig – who is facing significant election fraud allegations within his nominating petitions – “pull[ed] out” in the “last minutes” before he was due to appear on stage, then lied about it.

Republican candidates  running for governor have pushed a dangerous and backwards agenda that remains supported solely by conspiracy theories, eliminates reproductive freedom for women and families, makes crude cuts to critical services and slashes education funding, and undermines Michigan’s economy – a point echoed in post-debate coverage.

OFF THE RECORD

SKUBICK: All right. So we had a debate down in Howell with MIRS folks and what was the takeaway from that debate? And maybe the lede was of who wasn’t there?

CLARK: …In the last minutes, you know, that day, Chief James Craig dropped out. […] He’s saying there’s a scheduling conflict, but the issue is, if you agree, right, and then for weeks, you’re planning on going, and then all of a sudden, there’s a scheduling conflict-

SKUBICK: Does anybody in this town believe that? 

CLARK: I haven’t talked to every single person in this town, but I think most people are going, “Well that’s sort of convenient.” […]

SKUBICK: Nobody broke through in this debate. 

Detroit News: The Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidates fielded questions on issues from abortion and vaccines to nursing home COVID-19 deaths from the stage in Howell on Thursday, outlining their stances on some of the state’s pressing questions and issues.

Each of the eight candidates said they were anti-abortion and would support a ban on abortions in Michigan should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks.

MLive: Some debate topics did little to separate the GOP candidates’ positions, like when asked their stance on abortion legislation if Roe V. Wade were to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Each candidate supported abortion bans…

MIRS Headline: Debate Watchers Not Seeing A GOP Standout: The first GOP gubernatorial debate post filing deadline, which was held in Livingston County Thursday, saw some candidates take stances on the issues on the table, but failed to see any of the candidates seize the day.

AP: Republicans running for Michigan governor met in their first debate Thursday night, all staunchly opposing abortion before the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is potentially overturned […]

Bridge Michigan: Michigan Republican gubernatorial hopefuls found common ground in their first debate on Thursday, vowing to support a potential abortion ban […]

Several candidates also questioned vaccine efficacy, and some argued that former President Donald Trump won Michigan’s 2020 election, despite officially losing the state by 154,188 votes. 

While Craig was missing in action, “none of the other candidates got what they needed out of that” because they failed to make waves, said Adrian Hemond, a Democratic strategist with Grassroots Midwest who was invited to the venue to provide post-debate analysis.

“Gretchen Whitmer had a really good night,” Hemond argued. “None of what was said on stage tonight is palatable to a general election electorate,” including ongoing claims about the 2020 presidential election.

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