What People Are Saying About the Radical, Conspiracy Theory-Fueled Second Republican Primary Debate

This afternoon’s Republican debate in Traverse City was the first major event since multiple candidates got caught submitting tens of thousands of fraudulent signatures to get on the ballot, leaving five of them uncertified as of today. 

However, fewer people on stage didn’t reduce the amount of outlandish claims every remaining candidate used to prop a wrong-for-Michigan agenda that would hurt women and families seeking reproductive freedom, dismantle public education, and reverse our strong economic recovery – a point observed by Michigan reporters.

Fraudulent Petitions Loomed Large, Showing That the Primary Remains Far From Unsettled

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Ryan Kelley claims he is now a “clear frontrunner” in the Michigan gubernatorial race because five other candidates were kept off the ballot by Board of State Canvassers.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Garrett Soldano touts his volunteer signature gathering operation, contrasting himself with those who paid for forged signatures. “Grassroots, baby.”

Even the Latest Horrific School Shooting Couldn’t Get Gubernatorial Republicans to Support Common Sense Measures to Prevent Further Violence

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): On school shootings, Rinke says he’d like to make schools single-entry and approach military veterans to see if they’d be interested in serving as hall monitors.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Soldano agrees on single-point entry for schools and says he supports arming teachers “if they chose” to be armed. “You can’t just look at this and blame the guns” he says.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Tudor Dixon says she’d try to end so-called gun free zones in Michigan, which she calls “sitting duck zones.”

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Michigan governor candidate Ryan Kelley says instead of sending money to Ukraine, federal government should fund “metal detectors in the doors of every one of the schools”

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Rebandt says schools should have gun-sniffing dogs too, in addition to single-point of entry.

Every Candidate on Stage Reinforced Their DeVos-Style Agenda to Siphon Billions From Michigan Students 

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): GOP governor candidate Kevin Rinke says he wants to “eliminate the Blaine amendment” in Michigan Constitution, which prohibits public tax money going to private schools. In the meantime, “workarounds,” he says.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): GOP candidate Ryan Kelly says that on day one as Michigan governor, he would sign a directive eliminating all diversity, equity and inclusion positions in state government.

Republicans Gave Support for a Host of Financial Disclosures That None of Them Have Actually Taken the Initiative to Voluntarily Share

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): The GOP gubernatorial candidates all seem to support some form of personal financial disclosure for election officials, which is not currently required in Michigan. “If you’re going to serve the people, you have to be willing to put everything on the line,” says Tudor Dixon.

Anti-Choice Extremism Was Once Again on Full Display

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Ryan Kelley’s opening remarks on school safety: “Absolutely a tragedy when we see something like Oxford or what happened recently in Texas. Equally a tragedy is that there are 125,000 babies that are killed every day by abortion and the Left doesn’t seem to care.”

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): GOP candidates for MIchigan governor say they generally support blanket abortion bans. Markey is something of an outlier, saying he would allow abortions until heartbeat and allow exceptions for rape and incest.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Michigan governor candidate Kevin Rinke says he thinks people who support legal abortion access are “hypocrites because their parents made a choice, and that choice was life.”

Everyone on Stage Again Relied on Whatever Election Conspiracy Theories They Could Come Up With to Justify Making it Harder for Michiganders to Vote

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): None of the remaining GOP candidates for Michigan governor on the ballot believe the 2020 presidential election was a fair election.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Ryan Kelley reminds that he was in DC on Jan. 6 

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelly says election reform bills from GOP-led Legislature are “weak, lip service.” Lawmakers should “decertify the 2020 election,” he says (which isn’t really a possible thing). Proposes to ban electronic voting machines.

Taylor DesOrmeau (MLive): Michael Markey on Thursday: “I’m one of the few candidates that came out and said I support the 2020 election results.” Michael Markey on Saturday: “I have significant and severe issues now with the 2020 election.” He said the state DQ-ing him this week has “changed his mind.”

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Kevin Rinke vows to create a “special unit” within the Michigan State Police to randomly check voting sites.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Several candidates say “we need to ban ballot harvesting,” which is already illegal in Michigan.

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): I feel like I have an obligation to add. I have watched 2000 Mules. There is nothing in this movie that proves or even indicates any election fraud took place in Michigan.

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