Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidates square off

Tudor Dixon leaves the Island with more momentum than her counterparts

It wasn't the debate on Mackinac Island anyone would've imagined a few weeks ago. But with former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and Perry Johnson disqualified from the ballot, the remaining candidates got a chance to show what they were about.

DETROIT – It wasn’t the debate on Mackinac Island anyone would’ve imagined a few weeks ago. But with former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and Perry Johnson disqualified from the ballot, the remaining candidates got a chance to show what they were about.

With half of the Michigan GOP gubernatorial hopefuls being thrown off the ballot for signature problems, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce invited those left. Four attended, with Ryan Kelley bowing out over COVID requirements which were not in effect for the debate.

Read: 5 GOP candidates disqualified from ballot in Michigan gubernatorial race over alleged forgery

So Tudor Dixon, Ralph Rebandt, Kevin Rinke, and Garrett Soldano were asked everything from will they accept the upcoming election results to how they would keep guns out of schools.

“The issue isn’t guns,” said Rebandt. “Guns haven’t changed. The issue is we have taken God out of the culture, God out of the classroom and out of the courtroom.”

None of the candidates believed gun control was the answer. Instead, they suggest securing schools with former military or arming teachers and single entrances.

All were in agreement on the majority of the rest of the questions. For example, regarding state spending, they all say the budget needs to be slimmed down. They just have varying ideas on how to do it.

“I’m a candidate who has proposed eliminating the personal income tax, 4.25%,” said Rinke. “Giving back the people 12 billion of their dollars because I believe that you know how to spend it better than the government.”

It got interesting when the candidates were asked if they’ve asked former President Donald Trump for his endorsement. They all said they’d welcome it, but only Dixon has had discussions with him.

“I’ve sat down with President Trump several times, and we’ve talked about his focus on Michigan,” said Dixon.

Dixon leaves the Island with more momentum than her counterparts. She just secured The Right To Life endorsement and the backing of the DeVos family.


About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.