This week’s political rundown is looking forward as we countdown to the final days leading up to Michigan’s primary elections on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
The most prominent statewide primary race is the face-off between five GOP gubernatorial candidates to see who will challenge incumbent Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the general election on Nov. 8.
The candidates— Garrett Soldano, Ralph Rebandt, Kevin Rinke, Tudor Dixon and Ryan Kelly— made their final arguments days before the primary election during a debate in Pontiac on Wednesday night.
Soldano, a chiropractor from Mattawan, has led a platform framed by Whitmer’s pandemic response. His campaign is fundamentally about, to hear Soldano tell it, tyranny vs. freedom, prosperity vs. lockdown.
Related: Can Garrett Soldano expand beyond his ‘grassroots army’ to become governor?
Rather than focusing on economic issues or the culture wars, as other candidates have done, Farmington Hills pastor Rebandt’s appeal to voters is in moral and spiritual terms. He believes the “culture” of Michigan is in fundamental need of repair.
Related: Ralph Rebandt wants to make sure Michigan gets God right in November
Rinke is a wealthy businessman from Bloomfield Hills that’s new to politics. He jumped into the Michigan governor’s race out of dissatisfaction with the direction of the state and has spent millions of his own money on his campaign. His pitch to Michiganders is a promise to reforge the climate for business and education in the state.
Related: Kevin Rinke thinks business smarts and a huge tax cut set him apart in governor’s race
Dixon has emerged as the possible GOP gubernatorial frontrunner in recent polling. The Norton Shores commentator’s platform marries the longstanding priorities of the state’s conservative kingmakers — school choice, regulation slashing and workforce development — with the grassroots and MAGA faithful, by leaning into the culture wars and courting the endorsement of former president Donald Trump.
Related: Tudor Dixon walks the tightrope in gubernatorial bid
Since he was led from his Allendale Township home in handcuffs by the FBI in early June, Kelley’s hope of becoming Michigan’s next governor rests on a wager— that Michiganders don’t really care what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. A real estate broker, Kelley’s message of “medical freedom” following restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic— that have since nearly all been lifted— is the tent pole of his campaign.
Related: Ryan Kelley is confident he can beat Gretchen Whitmer and federal charges
This close to the election, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson recommends that voters with absentee ballots return them in person instead of mailing.
Related: Haven’t mailed in your absentee ballot yet? Michigan SOS says to drop it off now
“With one week before ballots are due, voters who have received but not yet returned their absentee ballot should hand-deliver it to their clerk’s office or drop it off at a local drop box,” Benson said Tuesday.
She recommends returning your absentee ballot in person because it may take too long in the mail. Ballots must be received by your local clerk by the close of polls on election day, 8 p.m. Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
If you’re voting in person, check out the Michigan Voter Information Center to verify your voter registration and find your polling place.
Want to know what’s on your ballot locally? Below are details on proposals, House, Senate and local races that you’ll find on the ballot in your area:
Michigan voters also have access to candidate information and other voting resources through Vote411.org, a voter guide developed in partnership between MLive Media Group and the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Michigan.
Follow MLive’s statewide political team on Twitter to keep up with the latest election coverage: Alyssa Burr (@Alyssa_Burr), Ben Orner (@Ben_Orner), Jordyn Hermani (@JordynHermani) and Simon Schuster (@Simon_Schuster).
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Michigan Supreme Court rules sexual orientation protected by civil rights law
Automatic life for 18-year-old murderers no longer constitutional in Michigan
Lawmakers turn to counseling, mental health supports to stymie school gun violence
Michigan to halt collections on pandemic unemployment overpayments through October
Michigan House, Senate Democrats out-fundraise GOP counterparts