Tonight at Oakland University, tensions came to a head as the entire crowded slate of gubernatorial Republicans are finally seeing time run out on what has been a messy and chaotic primary. 

Largely still in lockstep with their overlapping wrong-for-Michigan agendas that would eliminate reproductive freedom, decimate public education, and slash funding from law enforcement and infrastructure, Kevin Rinke, Tudor Dixon, Ryan Kelley, Garrett Soldano, and Ralph Rebandt instead quibbled on who has run up the highest special interest score (answer: Tudor Dixon).

See below for Michigan reporters’ reactions to the explosive display:

When it Came to Public Education, Candidates Fought Moderators on the Facts to Distract from Their Plans to Gut Funding for Education

Simon Schuster (MLive): At Oakland University this evening for the sixth gubernatorial debate. There’s are been a fair bit of disagreement thus far — primarily between the moderators and candidates, who’re disagreeing with the premises of the questions they’re being asked.

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): Most of the candidates are questioning information given to [Elle Meyers] (and other journalists) by the Department of Education – a department the candidates would be leading should they win in November – regarding whether CRT is being taught in K-12 schools.

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): 2nd question is from moderator [Elle Meyers], who points out that CRT, which has been lambasted by candidates, is not being taught in MI schools. Ryan Kelley accuses Meyers of lying. Meyers says she reached out to the Dept. of Ed about this. Kelley says he doesn’t trust the Dept.

Sam Landstra (Fox 17): While the Michigan Dept. of Education says state public schools don’t teach Critical Race Theory, all five GOP candidates say otherwise: “If you want to teach my kid anything critical, critical math,” Soldano says.

Candidates Refused to Acknowledge the Devastating Reality of Gun Violence – or Even Say That It Exists 

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Michigan GOP governor hopeful Ryan Kelley says it’s a “baseless claim” to call AR-15 an assault weapon. “Assault is an action, and it’s not an object.”

Byron Tollefson (WOOD): Ryan Kelley, a Republican candidate for Michigan governor, says it’s a “baseless claim” to call an AR-15 an assault weapon. He says it’s an object that “just sits there.” “You could have an assault podium right here if I threw it at someone,” Kelley says. 

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Rebandt: “I don’t agree with the phrase gun violence… I would call it people violence.”

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): Question 3: Gun control and mental health funding.

Kelley: Guns are objects, people assault others

Soldano: 2A is not for hunting, it’s for protecting 1A. Governors created mental health crisis.

Rinke: Constitutional Carry is non-negotiable.

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): Dixon: Fear causes mental health issues. Need to come back with positive attitude. More funding. Didn’t talk on guns. Rebandt: Most shooters are on psychotropic drugs. Would fund mental health. People violence, not gun violence.

Once Again, Candidates “Misse[d] the Point” and Talked About Stripping Funding Instead of Solutions for Families

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): DEBATE | [9 and 10 News]

Q4: Cost of childcare

Both Kelley and Soldano answered the question by talking about vouchers. A bit off-topic.

Rinke also misses the point of question. Then says to strip regulations.

Rebandt says to slash taxes to give parents more money.

Simone Schuster (MLive): Tudor Dixon has called on businesses to support paid family leave previously, but I think she may have just called for the state to also support it tonight on stage. A little unclear.

There Were Several Fights Between Almost Everyone on Stage

Soldano v. Dixon

Rachel Louise Just (WWMT): Garrett Soldano now going after Dixon directly, saying he didn’t see her at rallies fighting lockdowns, etc. Dixon responds by saying: “You must have missed me at Marlena’s, you must have missed me out on the air on this making sure there was a national audience.”

Simon Schuster (MLive): Soldano to Dixon: “My definition of establishment is basically your entire campaign.”

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Tudor Dixon and Garrett Soldano clash over the DeVos family’s support of Dixon. “Are you going to endorse Matt DePerno?” Soldano questions Dixon.

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): Dixon: Questions what candidates consider “establishment” Safe Cities. This is the United States, let’s unite. Soldano rebuts to jump in saying establishment is her whole campaign. Dixon comes back saying GS tried for DeVos support.

Bryon Tollefson (WOOD): Multiple candidates attacking Tudor Dixon. Soldano criticizes her for being backed by the DeVos family, saying “my definition of establishment is basically your entire campaign.” Rinke: “you’re our version of Gretchen Whitmer.” Dixon says other candidates pursued DeVos support

Kelley v. Rinke

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): Rinke was attacked by Kelley and looked for a rebuttal but doesn’t speak about Kelley, he talks about dropping income tax. Kelley butts in and demands an answer on lawsuits. Then points to Dixon/Rinke about not fighting. ‘Lawsuits didn’t define me’ -KR

Craig Mauger (Detroit News): Ryan Kelley brings up multiple discrimination lawsuits filed against Kevin Rinke in the 1990s. Rinke pushes back, saying the people who sued him “got nothing.”

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Kelley brings up 30-year old lawsuits against Rinke, who was accused by employees of racial, sexual and gender discrimination. Rinke settled the age and gender case but says “the lawsuits because they weren’t true.”

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): DEBATE | [9 and 10 News] Kelley gets another rebuttal and says Rinke never put action into his words like he did.

Rinke v. Dixon

Simon Schuster (MLive): Rinke to Dixon: “The fact of the matter is the DeVos family owns you.” Kelley is alllll about this conflict: “Let’s go people!”

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): FINALLY, some fireworks at the GOP governor debate! [Kevin Rinke] goes after [Tudor Dixon] for being “bought” by the DeVos family. Dixon’s rebuttal? She asked why he gave money to [Mit tRomney], the ’12 GOP standbearer.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Dixon to voters: Other candidates have “been talking at you, they’ve been puffing up their chests, and they’ve been running ailly attack ads against me because they thought it was a popularity contest. They didn’t realize it was about serving you.”

Eric Lloyd (9&10 News): Rebandt: What we just saw was what we don’t need in Lansing. We need to solve problems. Not fight. Can’t fix it with money and just education, need to bring God back into the state and save morality. ‘End the disaster, vote for the pastor’

Ryan Kelley Wanted Everyone to Know He Got Booted Off AirBnB

Chad Livengood (Detroit News): “I got kicked off Airbnb! They’re doing everything they can to silence me,” said Ryan Kelley, who was arrested last month by the FBI for charges related to his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riots.

Jonathan Oosting (Bridge Michigan): Kelley says his activism sets him apart from the field: “I got arrested. I got kicked off Airbnb.”

The post What People are Saying About Tonight’s Explosive Debate at Oakland University appeared first on Michigan Democratic Party.