This evening in Pontiac, Republicans running for governor gathered on stage for the final time before Tuesday’s primary. As has been the case all cycle, candidates largely agreed on each other’s wrong-for-Michigan agendas while trying to differentiate themselves based on which special interests are bankrolling their campaigns. At the end of the day, the loser was once again Michigan voters hoping to hear some credible plans on the issues they care most about.

See below for Michigan reporters’ reactions to the predictable display.

No One on Stage Had a Real Answer to How to Build On Governor Whitmer’s Strong Leadership on Infrastructure 

]Simon Schuster (MLive): Q from the WJR moderators: how would you fix the roads, and would raise taxes to do so? We’re going to hear a lot of vague allusions to road design in the next few minutes.

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Asked how to fix Michigan’s roads, Pastor Ralph Rebandt discusses cutting funding for universities and having more than 1,000 “administrative” employees of state government retire.

Simon Schuster (MLive): Dixon: More road funding needs to go to more heavily-traveled roads. She discussed streamlining road agencies and to “use local people” to do road repairs.

Simon Schuster (MLive): Kelley: we need to localize, and insinuates the state is replacing roads that don’t need it. “If we put proper allocation in place” there’ll be no need for new taxes.

Election Conspiracy Theorists Tudor Dixon and Ralph Rebandt Refused to Acknowledge the Fact That Voter ID is Already the Law of the Land in Michigan

Danielle James (MIRS): “What we’re asking for is voter ID, the same thing that you’re asked for if you go to buy beer, you go to the doctor’s office or you get a COVID shot,” said Dixon on election reform.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): “Get rid of these drop boxes,” Ryan Kelley says in regards to absentee ballots. He’s also called for scrapping voting machines to hand count ballots, which could take days or weeks or more.

The Entire Field Relied on Every Trick in the Book to Shoulder Baseless Lies About the 2020 General and Stoke Public Mistrust in Our Electoral Process

Danielle James (MIRS): Kelley wants ballot drop boxes done away with. Rinke said he was criticized “because I called for the Democrats that were voting to be alive.” He said he only supports absentee voting for military or “special situations” that he didn’t elaborate, but does support early voting.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Kevin Rinke: “I don’t like mail-in voting for everybody (which is currently guaranteed in Michigan Constitution). I would like to eliminate it, except for our armed forces or special situations for people. What I do believe in is early voting” with ID.

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): “We have to have same day results,” Rebandt says, before adding that he wants the vote to be hand counted.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Rebandt says when he was a kid, voters didn’t have to wait “three weeks” to figure out election results. Then he proposes hand counting all ballots, which experts say could take weeks… or more.

Kevin Rinke Made Negative Overtures to the Same Legislators He’d Have to Work With as Governor – the Majority of Which Are Within His Own Party

Emily Lawler (Detroit Free Press): Rinke making the point of budget expansion in this debate — “Lansing right now are pigs at the trough, they’re drunk on your money.” Budget has definitely expanded, but the context is that much is from federal influx & the R-led legislature signed off on this spending.

As Has Become Custom Over the Last Few Debates, Things Devolved Into a Shouting Match as Candidates Have Become Desperate to Talk About Anything But Their Wrong-for-Michigan Agendas

Danielle James (MIRS): “I am not bought and paid for,” Kelley said.

Danielle James (MIRS): Soldano asked Dixon if she endorses DePerno, and she replied that she is the only candidate who has helped him raise funds. She also repeated her support, but Soldano pressed, asking if she endorses specifically.

Simon Schuster (MLive): Soldano again touches upon how he’s “been in the trenches” since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic resisting Whitmer. It’s the center of his message. Puts Dixon on the spot for not formally endorsing GOP AG nominee Matt DePerno. Crosstalk abounds.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Garrett Soldano: “There’s a lot of shenanigans going on behind the scenes with our establishment trying to bring down these candidates who are backed by the people … we need somebody who can not only call out the garbage, but also hold those responsible accountable.”

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