What People Are Saying About the Completely Fact-Absent Third Republican Primary Debate

Yesterday’s Republican debate on Mackinac Island exposed just how fact-bankrupt the remaining field of gubernatorial Republicans are, following court rulings that James Craig, Perry Johnson, and three other Republicans will not appear on the August primary ballot. 

As has been the case in the previous two debates, not a single Republican on stage demonstrated to working families that they are anywhere close to ready to lead this state with exactly two months to go until the primary. Garrett Soldano, Kevin Rinke, Tudor Dixon, and Ralph Rebandt differentiated little as they spelled out their visions for a bankrupt Michigan that offers no reproductive freedom, crumbling roads, and defunded basic critical services.

Viewers Were Left Unimpressed as Remaining Gubernatorial Republicans Once Again Demonstrated How Lockstep Their Dangerous Wrong-for-Michigan Agendas Have Been All Cycle

NRSC political director Stu Sandler: I will tell you what was clear to me about that debate.  The 2 candidates [Ron Weiser] and [Meshawn Maddock] were forcing on everyone and walking into Mar-a-Lago weren’t on the stage. It’s a reminder why party officers should not get involved in competitive primaries.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Detroit Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah introduces the “four leading Republican candidates” to be Michigan’s next governor, omitting Ryan Kelley, who boycotted the #MPC22 debate but has polled ahead of some others here’

Susan J. Demas (Michigan Advance): In 2010, I wrote a column after covering a gubernatorial debate on Mackinac that no one understood how road funding works. Now, no one understands how anything works.

Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press): We’re a little more than half way through the debate. Largely, candidates agreeing on most issues. Slightly different approaches and answers, some disagreement on whether to arm teachers, but overall little differentiation in the field at the moment.

A Discussion on Proposed Steps to Indiscriminately Gut Michigan’s Budget Exposed How Deeply Unfit the Entire Republican Gubernatorial Field is to Lead on Day One

Emily Lawler (Detroit Free Press): I’m not saying it was the most interesting to the general public, but the budget question was the most revealing for me in tonight’s debate. A new governor has to understand the budget enough to propose their own ~ a month after taking office.

Former Michigan legislator Sam Singh: Tell me you have never read the state budget without saying you haven’t read the state budget.

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): “I would eliminate the general budget,” [- Ralph Rebandt],  Republican candidate for governor, said at a debate at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Jordyn Hermani (Gongwer): Soldano also homes in on universities, saying that much of the money that the state gives them should be raised privately. Says it’s “almost comical” how much money is going to higher ed. Dixon, also, continues to paint any investment by the state via the budget “buying votes.”

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Garrett Soldano says Michigan’s universities should be raising their money privately, instead of getting it from the state. The universities have a big presence at this conference.

Emily Lawler (Detroit Free Press): “It’s time for us to look at what we’re getting out of this budget,” figure out where we can cut says Tudor Dixon. #MPC22

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): GOP gubernatorial hopeful [Tudor Dixon] calls for a halt on spending one-time stimulus and surplus tax funds until the “we find out who the next administration is because it is too tempting to buy votes right now.” “We need to make sure that money is on hold,” Dixon added. FYI: Getting rid of the $12B GENERAL FUND is a vote to eliminate the STATE POLICE, all prisons, Medicaid and everything but K-12 schools

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): This is also the plan to defund the Legislature… Of course, it would require the Legislature’s approval, which is why it will never happen.

Zach Gorchow (Gongwer): Article VIII, Sec. 4 of the MI Constitution: “The legislature shall appropriate moneys to maintain the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, EMU, Michigan Tech, CMU, NMU, WMU, Ferris State, Grand Valley State …” (I shortened some names).

Not a Single Candidate Demonstrated They Understood Even the Most Basic Aspects of Our Infrastructure, Much Less How to Build on Governor Whitmer’s Notable Progress 

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): Kevin Rinke, who like the rest of the candidates on stage has never held public office, has never heard of the term “lane miles.” This is a term used to measure road conditions across the state by MDOT, all 83 counties and every city and village in the state.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Soldano also says Michigan should make roads “thicker so they don’t degrade every several years.” Rebandt says the state needs to use a “proper mixture.” Note: Neither are road engineers.

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): “Michigan’s roads are designed to fail at a higher rate than other roads in the Midwest…because we allow heavier loads than any other state,” [Kevin Rinke] says, referencing Michigan’s truck weight limits. Michigan requires fewer miles PER AXLE than other states for heavy trucks.

Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press): Next question on Gov. Whitmer’s “fix the damn roads” pledge. How would you improve roads, and how would you pay for it? Rinke: Costs continue to go up, all budget projections are wrong. “Michigan’s roads are designed to fail at a higher rate” than other roads in other states

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Asked how he’d pay to fix Michigan roads, Soldano says state can increase tax revenue by growing jobs and making sure the government “can’t shut us down in the next cold and flu season.”

Gubernatorial Republicans Remained Unmoved to Support Common Sense Measures to Prevent Further Gun Violence, Even in the Wake of the Latest Horrific School Shooting

Emily Lawler (Detroit Free Press): Answers definitely included more philosophical discussion of root causes than actual policy proposals.

Emily Lawler (Detroit Free Press): Tudor Dixon says this Q hits home, she drops her girls off at school every day. Does not address gun regulations but says “We have to make sure we harden our schools.”

Dave Boucher (Detroit News): Rebandt: “The issue isn’t guns. Guns haven’t changed. The issue is we’ve taken God out of the culture, God out of the classroom and God out of the classroom.” Guns have, unquestionably, changed.

Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press): Soldano: Guns protect lawmakers, banks and courts, but we have “gun-free school zones.” That doesn’t make sense to me

Jordyn Hermani (Gongwer): Rebrandt says this isn’t happening because of guns but because of a lack of god in schools, the court room and society. Says he’d want gun sniffing dogs in schools, hire ex-military as guards and only have one entry/exit to the building.

Jordyn Hermani (Gongwer): One point entry is also mentioned by Soldano, who also says that teachers should be armed — if they want to. Rinke also pushes for ex-military or ex-cops as guards at schools to combat this.

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): Tudor Dixon later said she favors spending some one-time funds now on “hardening” schools against shooting threats. [Ralph Rebandt] favors a single entrance in all schools to prevent kids getting killed. A question I keep asking: Will there only be one EXIT? Because, well, fire

As Michigan Women and Families Already Observed in the Previous Two Debates, No Republican Running Will Protect Their Reproductive Freedom

Devin Scillian (WDIV): GOP Gubernatorial Debate is underway on Mackinac.Four participants after the signature fiascos.  Dixon, Rebandt, Rinke and Soldano so far in lockstep against abortion. #MPC22

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Tudor Dixon, fresh off Right to Life endorsement, says she is “unapologetically pro-life” and opposes legal abortion. “I believe that we have to protect our babies.”

Dave Eggert (Crain’s Detroit): GOP gubernatorial debate is underway at #MPC22 – 1st question is about abortion. Tudor Dixon says she is ‘unapologetically pro-life’ – that’s basically no exceptions for abortion (rape/incest) except to protect the woman’s life.

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): “If Gov. Whitmer says she’s going to fight like hell, we’re going to fight harder,” says Ralph Rebandt, touting his anti-abortion stance.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Rebandt: “Life begins at conception and ends at natural death.” Abortion foes have been “praying for 50 years” for what the Supreme Court may soon do: Overturn Roe v. Wade, he says.

Rinke in Particular Stood Out for Resorting to Conspiracy Theories to Support His Anti-Choice Extremism That is Deeply Unpopular With Michiganders

Ruta Ulcinaite (Fox 17): GOP DEBATE FOR GOVERNOR: “It’s (abortion) is being used as birth control and it’s wrong,” Rinke said when asked about the peal-back of Roe v Wade. All candidates say they want the decision overturned. 

Clara Hendrickson (Detroit Free Press): Rinke says Dems have introduced legislation in states outside Michigan that would allow abortions 28 days after child is born. Not sure which states he’s referring to but at least one bill has been misrepresented as legalizing infanticide when it does not.

Nancy Kaffer (Detroit Free Press): All the GOP gubernatorial candidates have called Gov. Whitmer’s position on abortion “extreme.” It’s actually the position shared by more than two-thirds of Michiganders, and Americans …

It’s Not a Republican Debate in Michigan if it Doesn’t Feature Outlandish Claims and Blatant Lies About 2020, Fact-Checked by Reporters in Real Time

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Garrett Soldano beats Ralph Rebandt to the first 2000 Mules reference. The movie does not prove anything about fraud in Michigan’s 2020 election.

Jordyn Hermani (Gongwer): He also falsely claims that the SOS “Benson … sent out 7.7 million pre-filled out” ballots. Rinke also just straight up says he knows there was fraud in 2020 b/c there’s been fraud in every election. True: However, that fraud has never been large enough to change the outcome.

Nancy Kaffer (Detroit Free Press): GOP candidate says “we know” there was 2020 elex fraud bc he rec’d 6 absentee applications. Let’s go over this again: If you have an application for a job at Subway, you don’t have a JOB. If you have an application for a mortgage, you don’t have a MORTGAGE. See how it works? #mpc22

Clara Hendrickson (Detroit Free Press): Rebant says poll watchers were “thrown out” in Detroit in 2020 election. Then-TCF Center was teeming with challengers observing absentee ballot count, more than the number allowed under Michigan election law, creating a chaotic scene.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Ralph Rebandt, who has questioned 2020 results, says he’ll accept results of 2022 elections “if we have proper poll watchers” and he knows that. “I don’t question the election, I question the results of the election from 2020.”

Dave Boucher (Detroit News): Next q: Will you accept the results of Aug. primary and November election. Rebandt: Yes, if we have proper poll watchers. Also repeats lie that Sec. Benson sent out absentee ballots. She *did not.* She sent out absentee ballot *applications*

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