Michigan Dems spar over corporate money in 2nd, final debate

Posted at 9:40 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 22:31:58-04

DETROIT, Mich. — Democrats running for Michigan governor have held their second and final televised debate weeks before the Aug. 7 primary.

Abdul El-Sayed and Gretchen Whitmer sparred Thursday night over the influence of corporate money in politics.

“We have people in this primary, people like Senator Whitmer who will take credit for healthcare reform but the fact is they’re also taking money from the corporations and individuals who want to maintain the status quo," El-Sayed said.

Whitmer responded by saying she's "not gonna be lectured" on healthcare.

El-Sayed accuses Whitmer of using "Republican gimmicks" because an allied outside group airing pro-Whitmer ads can use "unlimited corporate money" and has not disclosed its donors. Whitmer countered El-Sayed — who rejects corporate political action donations.

“I just gotta say, give me a break Abdul," Whitmer said. "You have received $170,000 in your campaign from corporate executives. You can’t be half pregnant on this one.”

The sharp exchange punctuated a debate in which the candidates, including businessman Shri Thanedar, answered questions about business taxes, roads, tariffs and abortion rights.

The candidates were asked if they could solve one problem with a magic wand, what it would be. El-Sayed said he would get rid of poverty. Whitmer said she would address poverty by educating children and implement jobs training. Thanedar said he would increase mental health funding.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.