What People Are Saying About Tonight’s Chaotic and Combative Republican Primary Debate in Warren

There really aren’t words to describe the combative chaos on display tonight in Warren as Kevin Rinke, Ryan Kelley, Tudor Dixon, Garrett Soldano, and Ralph Rebandt once again jockeyed to make their radical agenda stand out. 

Not a single Republican on stage demonstrated to working families that they are anywhere close to ready to lead this state with just one month to go until a nominee is elected. As noted, “there [wasn’] much new territory explored” tonight as they carted out their backwards vision of Michigan that would cut funding from crucial services and constitutional rights from Michiganders. 

The Pressure Was on as Barbs Flew Across the Stage in All Directions, With Special Interest Candidate Tudor Dixon Getting Desperate and Throwing Punches at Frontrunner Ryan Kelley

Simon Schuster (MLive): Garrett Soldano: “All these candidates are talking a big game right now. They’re giving a bunch of lip service.” This fires the crowd up. We are now solidly in the crosstalk portion of the evening.

Barbara Bellinger (MIRS): Voices being raised on stage. [Ralph Rebandt] getting louder and louder. [Garrett Soldano] said he and Ryan Kelley are the only two not giving “lip service” to 2020 election fraud.

Barbara Bellinger (MIRS): Ryan Kelley said “this is what everybody came here to see tonight, and this is what we need” about the back and forth open forum happening on stage right now. 

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): “Who’s the fighter for the people,” asks Ryan Kelley, recently arrested for role in J6 riots. “Look at the one that the left is trying to silence the hardest. I think that’s very evident with the FBI raiding my house, intimidating me my wife, my children, my supporters.”

Laina Stebbins (Michigan Advance): Some fireworks between Soldano/Rinke and Kelley/Rebandt on who has done the most to “fight fraud” in elections

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Dixon says small government means not telling businesses what they can and can’t do. Kelly says he’ll bar private company vaccine mandates. “We will not allow corporations to medically discriminate against people.”

Simon Schuster (MLive): Rebandt: “I was serving the citizens of this state when these guys were in diapers.” Kelley responds that this is the kind of banter folks came here to see and the crowd clearly agrees. They love every zinger.

Conspiracy Theories Were Featured on Every Issue Under the Sun

Barbara Bellinger (MIRS): Applause and cheers from the crowd for Dixon’s announcement on the bills introduced on the Capitol steps today to “prevent drag queens from going into schools.” 

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Soldano calls J6 hearings a “smear campaign” against Trump and says 2000 Mules shows the “truth” about the 2020 election. (Fact checkers, and former AG Barr, disagree)

Laina Stebbins (Michigan Advance): Tudor Dixon falsely claims that SOS Jocelyn Benson acted unlawfully in securing the 2020 presidential election, along with a number of other claims about the election that have already been debunked

Laina Stebbins (Michigan Advance): Rebandt: “We know there was fraud because.. we know there was fraud.”

Laina Stebbins (Michigan Advance): Just want to add real quick that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud in Michigan or elsewhere in the 2020 presidential election. There was, however, widespread signature fraud found in the petitions of 5 GOP gov. candidates who were kicked off the ballot last month

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): “We have to go back and prosecute,” Pastor Ralph Rebandt says of unproven claims of fraud in the 2020 election. “Because if we don’t prosecute, we will never get this thing fixed.”

Trip Gabriel (New York Times): Ryan Kelly (arrested by FBI for role in 1/6 riot): “We will not negotiate with these big government communists.  It’s not going to happen.”

Garrett Soldano and Ryan Kelley Re-upped Their Vows to Indiscriminately Cut Funding to Critical Services

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Soldano says he’ll do a “forensic accounting” of the Michigan budget. “We need to “cut that budget every single year.”

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Ryan Kelley on school funding: “Provide a quality education or go out of business.”

The Entire Field Reiterated Their Extreme Anti-Choice Crusade to Eliminate Reproductive Freedom for Millions of Michigan Women and Families

Laina Stebbins (Michigan Advance): Rebandt made mention of “abortion mills,” which is certainly a phrase to unpack

Trip Gabriel (New York Times): Ryan Kelly asks for a show of hands on “who believes that there’s a person at conception”? No objections voiced.

Kevin Rinke and Tudor Dixon Refused to Support Even the Most Basic of Gun Violence Prevention Measures

Barbara Bellinger (MIRS): Rinke and Dixon both state that they do not (and would not approve) red flag laws in Michigan. [MIRS News]

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Rinke and Dixon say they oppose “red flag” gun confiscation laws and want to make Michigan a “constitutional carry” state, which means eliminating the need for permits to concealed carry.

Emboldened by the Reversal of Roe v. Wade, Republicans on Stage Encouraged the Supreme Court to Strip Other Basic Rights, Targeting Same-Sex Marriage

Barbara Bellinger (MIRS): Ryan Kelley on Supreme Court decisions on Roe v Wade and any others (LGBTQ) are powerful and the decisions should go back to the state. [MIRS News]

Laina Stebbins (Michigan Advance): Onto abortion and same-sex marriage. Answers are pretty much what you’d expect on both. Kelley: “The Supreme Court needs to start rolling back a lot of those things.” Rebandt: “I draw the line where God does.”

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Ryan Kelley says he wants SCOTUS to roll back gay marriage ruling and supports Michigan’s old constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Trip Gabriel (New York Times): None of the 5 GOP gov candidates voiced support for same-sex marriage.

Dave Boucher (Detroit Free Press): A recent Gallup poll found 71% nationwide support for legal same-sex marriage. [link] At least two of 5 remaining GOP gubernatorial candidates came out against same-sex marriage tonight

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