Chances for televised debate in Michigan U.S. Senate race dimming

Sep 2, 2014

It appears highly unlikely there will be a televised debate between Michigan’s two major-party candidates for U.S. Senate this fall. 

It’s not for a lack of potential debate venues. Two TV stations and Michigan State University have offered to host a debate between Republican Terri Lynn Land and Democrat Gary Peters.      

Terri Lynn Land
Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land talks with supporters at a restaurant in Jackson.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Peters campaign has accepted those invitations, but Land’s campaign has not.

Speaking tonight, Land would only say she’s leaving the decision to debate up to “the folks who make those plans,” but declined to say who “those folks” are. 

“I’m always willing to talk to voters,” Land answered in response to repeated questions about debates.

Land and Peters have appeared at the same venue to answer questions, for example at the Detroit Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference in May.  But they haven’t shared a stage in a formal debate. 

Congressman Gary Peters talks to supporters in Detroit.
Congressman Gary Peters talks to supporters in Detroit.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Peters campaign today criticized Land’s campaign for not discussing a debate schedule.

The possible venues for a U.S. Senate debate may be shrinking.  

Tuesday, WOOD TV in Grand Rapids announced it was postponing its plans for a debate next week. The station is also postponing its planned debate between the major party candidates running for governor.

Democrat Mark Schauer accepted the invitation. Incumbent Republican Rick Snyder had not.