Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidates debate in Grand Rapids

Tudor Dixon was a target Wednesday night

With absentee ballots in homes right now, the GOP hopefuls for governor turned the pressure up on each other at a debate in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – With absentee ballots in homes right now, the GOP hopefuls for governor turned the pressure up on each other at a debate in Grand Rapids.

You can tell the August primary election is close by the change in tone at Wednesday night’s GOP debate; The candidates have all been at various forums and debates together, but candidates are now starting to go on the attack.

While Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has always been a target, GOP hopeful Tudor Dixon was very much a target Wednesday (July 6) night.

Both Garrett Soldano and Ryan Kelley criticized Dixon to the point she quipped, “Ryan seems very interested in my campaign tonight.”

Dixon entered the debate with the wind at her back. She snagged top-tier endorsements and the backing of major GOP donors. Her campaign is up on TV, as is Kevin Rinke, who has the ability to self-fund.

The candidates were questioned on everything from what they would do to curb inflation to their stances on social issues. Only Dixon and Rinke offered to specify the inflation question; both want to reduce and eliminate the income tax, although Rinke said he’d call for it to be done far faster.

When asked about abortion, Dixon, Kelley, and Soldano say they only support abortion in one instance, if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Rinke gave a non-specific answer. None of them support any gun control.

When asked about whether they believe the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, only Kelley and Soldano said yes, it was stolen.

Dixon and Rinke wouldn’t commit to those words but did say they believed in unsubstantiated claims of fraud and illegal activity.

Kelley has been charged with four criminal misdemeanors in connection with his alleged behavior at the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and described it as “that was a 1st amendment activity”.

In response to President Trump’s actions that day, the rest say they still support him.


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.