Grand Rapids hosts GOP gubernatorial debate

Posted at 7:12 AM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 07:12:58-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Four Republican candidates with the common goal of becoming the next governor of Michigan faced off in a town hall style debate Wednesday night in Grand Rapids.

Attorney General Bill Schutte says he will be Michigan’s jobs governor. Lt. Governor Brian Calley says he’s running for governor to continue the Michigan comeback. State Senator Patrick Colbeck says he’s ready to fix the problems the state is facing. Dr. Jim Hines says Michigan needs an outsider with fresh ideas, and he’s the one to get the job done.

Before the debate began, protesters outside were made their voices heard on health care and Medicaid.

“I think it’s important, if one of those candidates is going to be our governor, then they must support a Medicaid expansion and healthcare for all," said Tyjuan Thirdgill, Viewpoint consultant. "If their goal is the same as mine which is for all Michiganders to go to sleep knowing they are protected then we can work together.” Says

Others want to see the veterans better cared for.

“We have the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and many of us have heard the issues that have gone on since privatization of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.” said Amanda Leanne Brunzell, a veterans advocate.

Inside, the candidates faced off on health care, jobs, and the environment.

“We’re not going back," said Schutte. "We are going to go from good to great, and we are going to win again. And that’s what this debate was all about tonight.”

The attorney general is the front runner at the moment in the Republican primary race for governor.

“I understand desperation politics," he said of his opponents. "They’re behind, and I’m ahead, and I’m going to keep it that way. But I’m going to earn it every day, and it’s all about where Michigan goes in the future.”

Senator Patrick Colbeck said he’s the one to fix the problems. "My engineering background helps me face all the problems that are facing us here in state government. And I look forward to putting those to use as next governor," he said.

As the polls tighten between Lt. Governor Brian Calley and Schutte,  Calley says he wants to lead the state into a prosperous future. “The race is tightening," he said. "That’s why the attorney general has spent so much of his time on negative ads against me is because he’s concerne. His numbers have come down while mine have gone up.”

Dr. Jim Hines believes he’s the clear winner from Wednesday night’s debate, "because I was able to communicate to the viewers of this state that there is an outsider, someone who has never run for political office before, who loves people and will put people first before politics," he said.

The Republican primary is August 7.

Meanwhile the front runners on the Democratic side are Shri Thanedar and Gretchen Whitmer.

The general election is November 6.