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A debate in the U.S. Senate race more likely?

Sep 17, 2014

Terri Lynn Land
Credit Michigan Republican Party / Facebook

With 48 days to go until the Nov. 4 election, many people are wondering if Michigan voters would ever get a chance to hear a debate between the candidates for U.S. Senate and for governor.

Republican Terri Lynn Land took the first step today toward holding a debate with Democratic rival Gary Peters.

Land's campaign just named Lansing attorney Richard McLellan as its debate negotiator. Land says McLellan will work with Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV and Peters' campaign to possibly find a West Michigan journalist to co-moderate a debate with WXYZ Editorial Director Chuck Stokes.

Peters named former Lt. Gov. John Cherry as his debate negotiator Aug. 6. Peters has accepted three debate invitations outright and two others on the condition that Land also agrees.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta are co-hosts of Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics. In their views, Michigan voters are clearly looking for the candidates' debates. 

The setup of the debate will likely reflect candidates' comfort levels. However, the candidates have shown distinct media styles. As Pluta pointed out, Peters likes elaborating and breaking apart policies, whereas Land is often more comfortable in controlled environment.

Land had previously been vague about debates. The campaign team instead emphasizes on direct contact with voters rather than through the media.

But debates may still be an expected part of the political process.

"What we want from our leaders is the feeling that they are willing to stand up and debate their issues. We may not agree with what they are saying, but we at least want to hear where they stand and hear some passion about what they believe," Clark said.

* Listen to the full interview with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta above.

* Tune in Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics on Friday at 1:35 pm for a special call-in show with Terri Lynn Land.